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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 13 Hansard (13 December) . . Page.. 4042..


DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (11.18): Mr Speaker, earlier this week my office sent a copy of my letter to the Auditor-General to Mr Corbell's office, partly to explain to them that a statement attributed to me in an article in the Canberra Times was something that in fact we did not say. Clearly it was something the journalist wanted us to have said and tried to get us to say. So, in fact, the spirit in which this letter was sent to Mr Corbell's office was to let him know what we really wrote to the Auditor-General.

That letter puts together the substantive concerns that I have had over this process since it first arose. We will remember that it arose in an estimates committee hearing. It seemed to me at the time that writing to the Auditor-General and asking her to do an audit and an inquiry into this process was the best way of moving it out of the political arena, at least for a while, and, most particularly, getting the answers to the questions that we had.

Of course this motion of Mr Corbell's will get through, but it will be wrong to say that this Assembly agrees to paragraphs (1) and (2). It will be this government that does so. I regard it as a fait accompli that paragraph (2) will just get through. Nonetheless, I am still going to take my 10 minutes and explain why I did not jump to Mr Corbell's command that I "publicly apologise to the community over inaccurate claims that she made concerning the sale of block 8, section 48, Fyshwick".

The perspicacity of Mr Corbell to choose two sentences from my letter where it has been proven I was wrong! Surely that is why we have the processes that we have. We have robust processes that allow scrutiny of government and their processes. When the government was in opposition I am sure that it applauded itself. Those processes have done what they should and a report has been produced that everyone will be able to use for their own purposes. We are already seeing that today. I suppose that is the essence of a successful report, in government terms.

I will say that I was wrong. The Auditor-General's report has shown that I was wrong in the statement, "This change was notified only to the ultimate buyer of the site". It is that word "only"that is wrong there. But at the time this letter was written there was concern being expressed by many in the community that this may have been the case.

The second concern that Mr Corbell expressed, both today in the house and yesterday to me personally, is that he believes that I was accusing the government and various officials of "bureaucratic incompetence or deliberate malfeasance". This is where the politics comes in: you take a sentence, you leave out certain bits or you put a certain interpretation on it, you say that is the truth and then you goad the person for saying it. What, in fact, I did say was that I was concerned—

Mr Mulcahy: Are you misleading again, Simon?

Mr Corbell: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker.

DR FOSKEY: that the actual sale price was—

MR SPEAKER: Order!


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