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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 5 Hansard (25 August) . . Page.. 1304 ..

Ms Carnell: In 1996?

MR STANHOPE: No, in 1998, 9 January 1998. But the Government, for whatever reason, did not wish to answer the simple questions. Why was the deal necessary? Instead, we have had this rigmarole, this house built on shifting sand. We have had amazing stories of the developer bringing in three blocks, actually bringing in the documents. We have had absolute denials that anybody ever knew about the fact. Actually, we have had PALM and OFM through this place seriously defamed - that they did not know what they were doing; that they were incompetent; that they allowed their Ministers to enter into a development worth perhaps $150m without ever once a single one of them, these competent and experienced public servants, telling their Minister, "Hey, Minister, perhaps there is a problem here. We have advice in the department that Mr Whitcombe actually does not have authority over all that land. Minister, do you know what you are doing?". Are our public servants that incompetent? Are they truly that incompetent? Are those who advised Mr Humphries before he went to Cabinet on 22 December, are those public servants who advised Mrs Carnell before she went to Cabinet on 22 December, that incompetent? I do not think so. If that is what the Government is suggesting, then I truly fear.

Just to conclude, Mr Speaker, this has got nothing to do with whether or not, from time to time, we confuse the word "block" with the word "lease". That is just simply spurious. This debate has got nothing to do with whether every now and again we inadvertently use the word "block" when we should use "lease". We all know what a block is generally. We all know what a lease is. We know what a lease document is. Mr Moore knows that. Mr Humphries particularly knows that. A Minister for Planning and a lawyer and an Attorney-General knows that. He knows that there is a difference. We can sometimes inadvertently make a mistake in our words. We can transpose words. We all do it, but we do not make that sort of serious mistake about the legal ramifications of a lease document and a block. We all know. If those of us in this place actually take our roles seriously and we do not know that, then we should not be here. Mr Humphries, you should not be continuing as Attorney-General if you do not know what is the difference between a lease and a block.

In conclusion, Mr Speaker, members of the Assembly have listened to the evidence provided today. It is clear that both Mrs Carnell and Mr Humphries had the chance repeatedly to clarify their statements. They have recklessly or deliberately persisted with their statements both in the Assembly and in the Estimates Committee. Those statements have been exposed by their own mouths in some regards. By the paper trail that we have followed through the FOI, those statements have been exposed as misleading, as evasive and as untrue. The mislead is clear. The mislead is absolute. It stems from the fact that the reason they provided for the Kinlyside deal was never ever true. It all stems from that. It stems from the fact that they built a defence which they felt they needed, on the basis of advice dreamed up by an officer who did not understand that for a lease you had to have a document. This all stems from that, and we all know that. It all stems from the excuse that was made up to explain away the embarrassment. We all know that. We know it and we know where it stemmed from.

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