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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 1 July 2010) . . Page.. 3221 ..


members, presumably, of the Labor Club. That became quite a stark and significant conflict of interest which the government simply cannot deny. The Labor Party simply cannot deny how strong that conflict of interest was—the fact that the executive in the ACT and nationally tried to influence board members to effectively do something that would have been illegal, to act at the direction of people outside of that entity.

Mr Stanhope made public comments about this. He was effectively saying, “Well, this is our club.” The fundamental power under the act is that clubs cannot be subject to outside direction. But from what Mr Stanhope was saying, it appears that the Labor Party have treated it as if they can. Of course, they can appoint board members and do all of those things to influence it. As Mr Smyth touched on, what was found in the report was that attempts were certainly made to influence directors to breach the gaming act and it found that those attempts were unsuccessful.

We also heard about a number of documents that were denied to the commission. The commission was denied 86 documents as a result of legal professional privilege. All Mr Jones received was a short, one-line description of those documents. He said:

That description would typically be “Legal advice by X law firm to client”—that sort of thing. But that is as far as it went.

In the end, this is where the cloud still remains. It still remains because the Gambling and Racing Commission was not able to get all of the information. It was not able to get access to all of the documents. Despite that, it was still able to find that there were serious attempts by the ACT executive and the national executive of the Labor Party to do something that was inappropriate, to try and influence members of the board to do something that was illegal. These are very serious issues. It has never been fully resolved as to who on the various executives was actually responsible for that and why there was that desperation to influence the process.

How is this now going to be fixed up? We cannot have a situation where this is able to continue. Does the Labor Party still consider that it owns these clubs? Does it still consider that it is able to direct how things operate? That certainly seems to be the way it has operated in the past. That was fundamentally the problem. That was fundamentally a big part of the problem under the gaming act and issues around other laws, which Mr Brian Hatch raised, which led to this investigation. Mr Brian Hatch pointed to a number of other laws. We do not know whether the documents for which privilege was claimed would shed some light on those issues. There are a number of unanswered questions on this, Mr Speaker, and there will be a need for the Assembly to further examine it in due course.

MR BARR (Molonglo—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Planning, Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation and Minister for Gaming and Racing) (12.02 am): I thank members for their contributions in this area of the budget.

Members would be aware that the government decided late in 2009 to reform the funding of the racing industry in the territory. There were a number of significant challenges that meant that the funding model supporting the industry was no longer sustainable and that a new one had to be developed. In response to the situation, the government, in consultation with the industry, developed a new model and the budget introduces this new and more sustainable model.


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