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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 5 Hansard (25 August) . . Page.. 1297 ..

Mr Moore: No. I think it would be worth it.

MS CARNELL: It might be worth making some comments. That Cabinet decision makes it quite clear that the decision that Cabinet made was based upon Hillview, not bits of Hillview - not parts of Hillview, but Hillview. That decision, of course, as everyone knows, because everyone has seen it by now, was made in December. It must have been a week or so before the preliminary agreement was signed. That showed categorically that the basis upon which the Government made the decision was that Mr Whitcombe brought Hillview to the table. That Cabinet submission, as members would know, because it has been leaked, also went into quite significant depth on why parts of Kinlyside were added to the preliminary agreement. Mr Kaine, who was part of that debate in Cabinet, could not understand why a preliminary agreement was entered into at all. I have to say the reason it was entered into was that it was a Cabinet decision, of which he was part, to do so. I am surprised he did not know.

Mr Speaker, that without any doubt shows categorically that the Government did believe that Mr Whitcombe was bringing all of Hillview. The information that I tabled this morning showed categorically that Mr Whitcombe, even on 18 May, when the information became absolutely evident, was of the view that he had brought to the table all of Hillview. If that is the case - if Mr Whitcombe believed he brought all of Hillview, Mr Whitcombe's lawyer believed he brought all of Hillview and the Cabinet decision that was taken a week or so before the PA was entered into was based on the belief that all of Hillview was what we were talking about - it shows categorically that that was the advice that was given to Government upon which to make a decision. That totally rules out any view of a reckless or intentional mislead.

Mr Speaker, if we are talking about blocks and leases, Mr Stanhope started his speech this morning by saying that yes, it was quite normal for people to use "block" and "lease" interchangeably; that in fact, to quote, he had done it. That rules out any view that we could be censured for that reason. If we cannot be censured for interchanging "block" and "lease", which I immediately wrote to members of the Assembly about, we cannot be censured for knowing that Mr Whitcombe did not bring all of Hillview, because members have all seen the Cabinet submission which shows categorically that was the basis upon which the decision was made.

Mr Stanhope: I have not seen it.

MS CARNELL: Everybody else has. Mr Speaker, that rules out any view of recklessly or intentionally misleading. What this Government did was enter into an approach or a process that protected the Territory. I do not think that anybody could suggest that Ministers who enter into something that protects the Territory, and did protect the Territory, I have to say - it actually worked - could be in any way censured.

Mr Stanhope: Except for a few hundred thousand dollars here and there.

MS CARNELL: Mr Stanhope says, "Except for a couple of hundred thousand dollars".

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