Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 3 Hansard (28 May) . . Page.. 722 ..
MR CORBELL: Perhaps the Chief Minister can answer this one for a change. Chief Minister, clause 7 of the exclusive preliminary agreement or contract that the Government signed with Mr Derek Whitcombe for the proposed rural residential development near Hall sets out the grounds on which the agreement can be terminated. Can the Chief Minister confirm that the reason stated by the Chief Minister for the termination of the agreement or contract - that is, that Mr Whitcombe had authority to negotiate over one lease rather than the three he originally brought to the table - is not a ground which is covered by clause 7 of that agreement?
MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, I understand that Mr Whitcombe can pull out of the preliminary agreement any time he likes, and he did.
MR CORBELL: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. First, I invite the Chief Minister to reflect on that comment. Will the Chief Minister take advice on whether Mr Whitcombe has breached the contract and whether Mr Whitcombe is legally liable for the costs the ACT has incurred? Subject to that advice, will she support legal action for the recovery of all those costs?
MR SPEAKER: You cannot give a legal opinion, or vouchsafe one.
MS CARNELL: I know. I am not going to give any legal advice.
Mr Corbell: Mr Speaker, I take a point of order. I did not ask for a legal opinion. I asked whether she would find out whether the Territory was legally liable.
MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, liable for what?
Mr Corbell: I am very happy to repeat the question, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, my supplementary question was: Will the Chief Minister take advice on whether Mr Whitcombe has breached the contract and whether Mr Whitcombe is legally liable for the costs the ACT has incurred? Subject to that advice, will the Chief Minister support legal action for the recovery of all costs?
MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, Mr Whitcombe pulled out of the agreement and we agreed. The two parties to the agreement have agreed to the termination of the agreement.
Mr Corbell: Will you take advice?
MS CARNELL: It does not arise if two parties agree.