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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 09 Hansard (Wednesday, 25 August 2010) . . Page.. 3939 ..


Labor won’t hide behind a cloak of confidentiality.

That is exactly what they are doing now. The contradiction between the government’s rhetoric and their actions is stark. If we were to believe their rhetoric then they would table the accounting advice. They will not do so, so it is up to us in this Assembly to compel them to do so.

If we want to look at consistency here, let us look at Mr Stanhope in 2005. In 2005, he published a copy of the draft Anti-Terrorism Bill 2005 and it was labelled “draft in confidence”. That was proposed by the Australian government to the states and it was intended for release for general publication after October. Mr Stanhope claimed that that was all in the public interest back then—so piously: “Because it is in the public interest, I will publish in-confidence advice.” The premiers disagreed and the Prime Minister disagreed. The Prime Minister actually said, “It is important that governments, no matter what political stances they might take, have the capacity to talk to each other in confidence.” That legislation was given in confidence.

Mr Stanhope and his colleagues back in 2001 were lecturing the Canberra community about openness, about accountability, about not doing secret deals behind closed doors, about not hiding behind in-confidence and about not hiding behind commercial in confidence. But in 2005, he did exactly that. He released some documents. What is going on now? When it comes to it, when it does not suit him, he will not follow through on his own rhetoric.

The Greens have an opportunity here to support openness, to support accountability and to avoid what I fear will happen if they do not go through this process in an open and accountable manner, and that will be a further two years of procrastination, more secret deals and more bungling from the health minister. I am asking members today—I know that the government does not want to release the documents, but I plead with the Greens—to let us restore some integrity, openness and accountability into what has been a very shabby process.

Let us restore the confidence of the public that they are going to get the very best deal and they are going to get an open and accountable deal from this government when it comes to the future of their hospital in Calvary. At the moment, while this government refuses to present and provide the information it has been given then no-one will have the confidence that the government is actually doing so.

MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Minister for Transport, Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Minister for Business and Economic Development, Minister for Land and Property Services, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs and Minister for the Arts and Heritage) (5.53): Mr Speaker, I am very pleased to speak on this motion. I must say that I am very pleased to have had my memory jolted by Mr Hanson to the fact that we took government nine years ago.

Mr Smyth: And you haven’t kept your word on a single day since.

MR STANHOPE: It is interesting to reflect—the passage of time takes one by surprise from time to time—that it was actually nine years ago that the people of


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