Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 9 Hansard (22 November) . . Page.. 2274 ..
Mr Berry: What about everybody else?
MR DE DOMENICO: If you want to be consulted we will consult even with you.
MR KAINE: Mr Speaker, I direct a question to the Minister for Sport, Mr Stefaniak. Minister, I presume that you will have seen a media release put out last week by Ms Follett, Leader of the Opposition and ACT Labor leader, entitled, "Government inaction threatens soccer Olympics for the ACT". Minister, can you advise the Assembly whether the claims in this release are accurate? Secondly, if they are not, have they done any damage to the Olympic sports bid by both Canberra and at least one other city in Australia?
MR STEFANIAK: Mr Speaker, I thank Mr Kaine for the question. I can advise that they are not accurate, Mr Kaine. Long before I finish answering this question, Ms McRae, who is actually Labor's spokesperson for sport, will probably want to get down under her seat and hide. I think her leader has caused the ACT Labor Party untold embarrassment and reduced their credibility on sporting issues to zero as a result of this. As Mr Kaine said, she issued a media release in which she claimed the ACT had lost a $5m-plus contract with the Japanese Olympic team to train, acclimatise and live in Canberra before and during the Olympics. She went on to say that the University of Newcastle had won the bid, with the generous support of the Newcastle City Council. This, she said, demonstrated the Government's total lack of commitment to bringing the Olympic soccer quarterfinals to Canberra. This, it seems, was not an allegation by the Leader of the Opposition; it was a statement of fact.
The Government decided to check out her so-called facts because, in the past, her secret source on sports stories has not been terribly accurate. Indeed, he has been way off the mark on a number of things. The Bruce Stadium story involving $15m, which I think the Chief Minister has commented on before, is a case in point. Let me read for Mr Kaine a media release issued by the Hunter Dash for 2000 Committee the next day which was headed, interestingly enough, "Hunter Region Refutes Opposition Claims on Japanese Olympic Deal". It says:
Hunter Dash for 2000, the Olympic taskforce set up by Newcastle and the Hunter Region to partner Sydney for the 2000 Olympic Games, has not made any contractual arrangement with the Japanese Olympic Committee as announced by the ACT Opposition.
Hunter Dash for 2000 has held discussions with the Japanese Olympic Committee and enjoys a relationship of mutual friendship, trust and understanding, with the potential of working together in the future.
Hunter Dash for 2000 and the Japanese Olympic Committee have not made any formal agreement concerning the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.