Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 4 Hansard (25 June) . . Page.. 1056 ..
MR CORBELL (continuing):
Chief Minister, it appears that you might have been confused, which is understandable, considering the absolute mess this whole affair has become. Perhaps the Chief Minister has had time to consider her responses and will let us know which of the two stories she wants to stick to. Was it the status of the leases; if so, how is this reflected in either the preliminary agreement or the deed of termination; and when did Mr Whitcombe pull out? Or is it story No. 2 - that it was not until the Opposition showed this agreement for the inadequate, shonky, half-baked deal that it was and quite sensibly "put the mocker on it"?
MR SPEAKER: Order! Withdraw "shonky". It is unparliamentary.
MR CORBELL: I withdraw "shonky" and replace it with "shady".
MR SPEAKER: I will check that.
MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, Mr Whitcombe did pull out of the deal. I think that is on the record in this place. That was followed by a deed of termination. I have to say, Mr Speaker, that those opposite do wear a huge amount of the responsibility for Mr Whitcombe pulling out of the deal.
MR CORBELL: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. Chief Minister, can you explain why, if the status of the Bolton leases was so central to the agreement, legal advice was sought only after it was requested by me in the public briefing to the Urban Services Standing Committee? Why did your department ask PALM to explain what leases the Boltons held, evidence of this and a view on the Boltons' understanding of the leases only on the afternoon immediately after the Urban Services Committee briefing? Also, Chief Minister, as you have insisted that it was Mr Whitcombe who called the deal off, can you please explain the minutes of a meeting of the project control group, which state that a Government representative on the control group indicates that the venture should not proceed because there is only one lease and not three, and that Mr Whitcombe disagrees and indicates that he believes that it is still viable to proceed? Chief Minister, now that there are three versions of the events, will you inform the Assembly who pulled out of the deal, when, and why?
MS CARNELL: I have answered that question so many times in this place. Mr Whitcombe pulled out of the deal - - -
Mr Corbell: What about these minutes? These minutes show that it was the Government that pulled out.
MR SPEAKER: Order! The Chief Minister is answering the question.
MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, Mr Whitcombe pulled out of the deal. The preliminary control group meeting on, I think, the Friday before, but certainly do not quote me as to the minute of the day, when it became evident that there was only one lease, indicated to Mr Whitcombe, I understand - I was not there - that they did not believe that the deal should go ahead under the circumstances. A few days later, Mr Whitcombe decided