Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 5 Hansard (25 August) . . Page.. 1200 ..
MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):
the Assembly supported the concept of rural residential development. We should now put this matter to rest and allow government officers to work towards the best way of implementing the Assembly's will.
For my part, I unreservedly apologise to the Assembly for my unintentional misuse of the word "leases" where I should have used the word "blocks". The Chief Minister and I were both relying on verbal advice, and it is a fact that the advice given to us also confused "blocks" and "leases". Ultimately, we take the responsibility for that. But we honour the accepted practice of returning to this Assembly at the first opportunity to apologise and correct the record where advice given to us is incorrect. Not only that, but we both took the opportunity to write to all members and correct the record the moment our mistakes emerged. Any accusation by the Opposition that the mistake was a deliberate attempt to mislead the Assembly is, as I have said, entirely rejected.
Motion of Censure
MR STANHOPE (Leader of the Opposition) (10.47): Mr Speaker, I ask for leave to move a motion to censure the Chief Minister and the Deputy Chief Minister.
MR STANHOPE: I move:
That this Assembly censures the Chief Minister and the Deputy Chief Minister for deliberately or recklessly misleading the Assembly in relation to the Hall/Kinlyside development.
Mr Speaker, I guess the apologies that we have just heard are welcome. It is, I guess, the first step down a long road that we have had to drag the Chief Minister and the Deputy Chief Minister down in our attempts to get the information that we have consistently sought in this place in relation to the Hall/Kinlyside area. I will not go into the history of it in any depth, but people in this place would recognise that consistently from 19 May we have sought advice on the background of the Hall/Kinlyside development, the reasons that the Government entered into an exclusive arrangement with Mr Whitcombe, the basis on which they made all their decisions - a whole range of questions which are very relevant in terms of the Government's responsibility to the people of Canberra, the people it seeks to represent. All the questions we asked were legitimate questions.
Ms Carnell: And you asked them about 400 times.
MR STANHOPE: We did. We asked them about 400 times, and the problem is that they were never answered. But today's debate cannot be reduced to the simplistic terms to which the Chief Minister and the Deputy Chief Minister have sought to reduce it, to a debate about whether or not when they said "block" they really meant "lease".