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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 24 March 2010) . . Page.. 1359 ..

the Assembly, and we would answer fully and openly any questions that were asked, even after a discussion with the archbishop and the head of the Little Company of Mary in which they supported the need for good faith negotiations and discussions to have a degree of confidentiality around them, because that is the nature of consultations. Nothing is ever black and white in a negotiation. Negotiations are precisely that. A position is put and it is responded to. Another position is put and it is responded to. Positions are negotiated. Adjustments are made. Compromises are reached. And if it is not done with a degree of confidentiality, the potential capacity for good faith negotiations is destroyed.

There needs to be an understanding of that. Motions such as this, demanding instant reporting on negotiations that have barely started, essentially destroy the capacity of government to govern. This demand that the government provide by tomorrow documents that perhaps are not even in existence yet, to force the government, through a demand, to table this range of documents, this information, by close of business tomorrow, is simply unacceptable. It is simply not achievable. You seek to impose an obligation on government that, with the best will in the world, the government probably cannot—

Mr Hanson: She said she’d do it. She said she could do it.

Ms Gallagher: When they were available.

MR STANHOPE: When they are available. You are asking us now to table this by close of business tomorrow, in the context of discussions commenced initially with an acceptance by all parties that there would be an acceptance of the need for some confidentiality to support and assist good faith negotiations in relation to a major potential commercial transaction. And you want us to table all the details of the proposal, by tomorrow afternoon, around the proposed price, the duration of subleases, governance and management arrangements. We have just started negotiations. We, the government, have had an initial meeting with the Little Company. There have been further discussions. But asking us to table by close of business tomorrow all the governance and management arrangements when we have only just—

Mr Hanson: If you do not have them, that is fine. If you do, table them.

MR STANHOPE: We will have to look. We will have to look at what we have now. We will have to pull officials off a whole range—this is just unreasonable. This is simply unreasonable, to be passing motions like this, when a government is doing its best to meet the needs of the people of this community through a reasonable proposal.

If this is the way in which the government is being asked to govern the territory, you render it almost impossible in relation to something as significant and as sensitive as negotiations for the purchase of a private hospital, the negotiation of a completely new management arrangement and the development of a new, integrated public healthcare system. You are essentially making it impossible for the government to do its job. The government is increasingly being forced to other options, such as the prospect of accepting that this Assembly will not allow this deal to proceed in any shape or form. Essentially, we are being pushed inexorably to a decision to build and construct a third hospital.

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