Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 7 Hansard (19 October) . . Page.. 1851 ..
MS McRAE (continuing):
What we have found out since the tendering process can only raise questions. We have found out that the tender documents were accepted and the contract was given to the Richmond Fellowship. Then we found out that they were in breach of the Incorporations Act. Those questions must be answered.
MR SPEAKER: Order! It being 45 minutes after the commencement of Assembly business, the debate is interrupted in accordance with standing order 77.
Motion (by Ms Tucker) agreed to:
That the time allotted to Assembly business be extended by 30 minutes.
MS McRAE: Fundamentally, the question has to be: What is it that the Government is trying to hide? What is it that the Government is scared of? What is it that cannot be discussed openly? This issue is a fundamental issue. Not only does it directly affect the children in this service; it affects the name of all the private sector organisations that tender. They know that questions will be asked every time. They know that this Government is incompetent. They were subjected to odium because allegedly their documents were not satisfactory. It was not until further information was revealed that this Government said, "We have gone back and checked now and they are all in order". That is fine. I have no problem with that. But the question arises: Why was it not done properly in the first place?
There are now a whole series of questions about this issue which reflect badly on the Government and which reflect badly on the services going to the Richmond Fellowship. As I have said, I think Richmond Fellowship are an excellent service. There are a whole series of questions about why, if 11 organisations had asked for documents, no further action was taken. The tenders were closed within 13 days. For a major service like this, there was 13 days to complete the documents and get them in.
Mr De Domenico: That is pretty normal.
MS McRAE: I do not care whether that is typical or not. This is a fundamental service. To rush through the tenders, to leave all these questions up in the air and to then find out that there were problems with papers can only lead to ongoing questioning of this service which will not do anyone any good. Having seen the rush of this Government, we know that this is the beginning of many services being handed over. That is fine. If this Government will not allow open inquiry and allow one of their own members to sit on the committee with a Green and me, if the Government is not willing to allow its processes to be scrutinised, if the Government is not willing to allow us to debate the whole notion of who should run their services, it can only lead to a major question about what is being hidden and why.