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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 8 Hansard (25 October) . . Page.. 2014 ..

Taxi Licence Auction

MR WOOD: I am pleased that Mr Humphries acknowledged the effect the Chief Minister's budget is having on 300,000 Canberrans; that some people are not so well off. My question is directed to Mr De Domenico and is about the taxi plates. Minister, in question time yesterday you stated that the Auditor-General had not felt sufficiently concerned about the process followed in awarding the contract to auction the taxi licences to Harold Hird and Associates Pty Ltd to initiate an investigation. You said:

No, he was invited to look at it. He did not feel strongly inclined to look at it; he was invited to look at it.

Minister, I refer you to the Auditor-General's letter to the Chief Minister dated 23 October, and in particular to the third paragraph, which reads:

In view of the publicity arising from the illustrative situation contained in your letter -

that referred to the tender won by Harold Hird and Associates -

I have arranged for one of my officers to review the procedures involved in the awarding of that contract.

The Auditor-General was not invited to investigate this contract. He was requested to advise only on appropriate guidelines for future conduct. He decided quite independently to instigate the investigation into the conduct surrounding the award of the contract to Harold Hird and Associates. Minister, why have you again misled the Assembly by stating that the investigation was requested by the Government when you knew this to be false because you already had in your possession the Auditor-General's letter?

MR DE DOMENICO: Mr Speaker, I have never attempted knowingly and wittingly to mislead the Assembly. If Mr Wood believes that I have misled the Assembly, if the Assembly believes that I have misled it, I would naturally apologise to the Assembly. I looked very carefully at what I said during question time yesterday to ensure that, with words and tautologies, people do not misrepresent and misapprehend what others say. I am aware, for example, that in answer to a question Mr Berry asked me I said that this Government did not know who was bidding. Strictly speaking, perhaps, that might be misconstrued by some people as an attempt to mislead the Assembly. This Government knew at least one person who was going to bid, we thought, and did bid eventually, and that was the gentleman representing Hymans. So, strictly speaking, I knew at least one of the persons who were going to bid, but that is the only one I knew. Once again, just in case somebody was in a position of wanting to ask me that question, it may be misconstrued as a deliberate attempt to mislead. Obviously, I am not going to mislead this Assembly.

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