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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 2 Hansard (20 May) . . Page.. 401 ..

MR KAINE (continuing):

I want to set people's minds at rest. So that people understand how that was done, can you explain to us what the process was by which this contract was awarded? Why was not the normal procedure of an open competitive tender system that would have allowed local people to tender for that contract used?

MS CARNELL: Mr Kaine, as you would know, because you were part of the discussions at the time, it was actually done by CanTrade, not by the Government at all.

Opposition members interjected.

MR SPEAKER: Order! I ask members of the Opposition to be quiet. Mr Kaine deserves to hear the answer to his question.

MS CARNELL: That is certainly true, Mr Speaker. It is probably appropriate, as this was done by CanTrade, for me to seek some advice from CanTrade on what the whole process was. I understand that J. Walter Thompson put forward a proposal to CanTrade; CanTrade were very keen on it; they worked it up with J. Walter Thompson and decided that it was worth a go. CanTrade asked me to have a bit of a look at the proposal. Mr Kaine might have been there as well. There were certainly others who were part of the CanTrade presentation to Ministers. I thought and still believe that the Feel the Power approach is a very good approach, and CanTrade has the capacity to do that.

MR KAINE: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. One can almost draw from the Chief Minister's response the conclusion that CanTrade has nothing to do with the ACT Government; and I would dispute that. I find it hard to believe that this company, out of the blue, came and made a proposal to the ACT Government, through whatever agency, on such a matter without being invited to do so. So, I come back to my question. Why was it not open tender? What was the process used? The Chief Minister has not answered the question.

MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, I mentioned in my answer to that question that I would seek some advice on the actual process that was gone through, but I know that J. Walter Thompson is a company that specialises in branding exercises. This is not an advertising campaign, and Mr Kaine knows that perfectly well. Branding exercises are a totally different approach. They require a long-term approach to changing people's feelings and their attitudes, rather than just advertising a product. It was perceived that a company with international experience such as J. Walter Thompson was an appropriate company, and I have to say that J. Walter Thompson has done work for all sorts of different entities.

Mr Berry: By whom?

MS CARNELL: By CanTrade.

Mr Berry: So you endorsed it?

MS CARNELL: Yes, I endorsed it; Mr Kaine endorsed it; we all endorsed it.

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