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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 12 Hansard (19 November) . . Page.. 3738 ..

MS FOLLETT (continuing):

Mr Speaker, I was clearly not alone in thinking that this service deserved some support. I also have a copy of the letter from the solicitors concerned, Sutherland and Tiirikainen, Barristers and Solicitors. They say:

Initially the service was awarded to us for a 12-month contract. This expired in December last year.

That is December 1995. They continue:

Since then the department has renewed it on a month-by-month basis pending resolution of their position with regard to the service. The need for the service has been clearly demonstrated by its level of use -

and the letter goes on. I met with representatives of Sutherland and Tiirikainen. I was aware that they were also to meet with Mr Humphries as Attorney-General and as the man awarding the contract. After the representatives had met with Mr Humphries, they met again with me - at their request, I might say - and indicated yet again that they were gravely concerned about the future of the service. This was in May of this year, after the contract had expired in December of last year.

Mr Speaker, I put it to you that, given that six months has expired even since that matter was first raised, to the point now where Mr Humphries can tell us of its continuation, in my opinion the concerns expressed by the Citizens Information and Advice Bureau, by the representatives of Sutherland and Tiirikainen and by me were totally justified.

MR KAINE: Mr Speaker, I seek leave to make a statement under standing order 46.

MR SPEAKER: Proceed.

MR KAINE: Mr Speaker, in the preamble to that statement from the erstwhile Leader of the Opposition, she referred to the action taken by me and by the Minister as being sleazy. I think the question of who was indulging in sleaziness needs to be examined a little bit further. It was not me that put out a media release last June that talked about the performance of the Minister as being disgraceful. It is very interesting that, having been asked the question, the Minister gave a very comprehensive reply. His reply was that the arrangement entered into by the former Government - the Chief Minister in that Government was Ms Follett - was renegotiated by the Minister at a cost of $22,000 less than the previous one, for the same service. I think it is right that I should ask the question as to whether or not the allegations made by Rosemary Follett, MLA, in June of this year were correct. The Minister proved that they were wrong.

I can only go back about five years ago. Wrong again, Rosemary! If anybody was being sleazy, it was in fact the former Leader of the Opposition and former Chief Minister, who put out that media release that tried to imply that somehow or other what the present Minister was doing was underhanded and was somehow depriving the public of a service, when in fact that was not the case. The public ended up with exactly the same service as they had before, at a price $22,000 a year less. I ask the question, Mr Speaker:

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