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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 5 Hansard (26 August) . . Page.. 1384 ..

MS CARNELL (continuing):

In some important respects, evidence upon which the Burbidge inquiry based its conclusions would not be admissible in a court in which civil recovery action was instituted. The advice of the two QCs who analysed the evidence considered by the Burbidge inquiry identified other weaknesses in that evidence for the purpose of establishing civil liability.

Two other issues were raised at the time the Burbidge report was tabled. First, Mr Burbidge, QC made findings about a fraud committed upon ACTTAB by certain ACTTAB promoters and about the veracity of evidence before the inquiry by Mr Daniel Kolomanski, one of the VITAB promoters. These matters were referred to the AFP for consideration and such action as they decide is appropriate.

Secondly, I raised the possibility that, if appropriate, disciplinary action would be considered against an ACTTAB employee remaining in the ACT Public Service. This was assessed and considered inappropriate as the evidence suggests a flawed culture or organisation. In these circumstances, action against this employee would be both unfair and difficult to sustain, given the more immediate responsibility of more senior staff who are no longer employed. In any event, legal advice has been provided which suggests that the transitional provisions of the Public Sector Management Act may be inadequate for disciplinary action to be taken in respect of conduct that occurred before the commencement of the Act on 1 July 1994. These issues have been carefully considered over the past six months to ensure that any decision about future legal action is soundly based.

I have also written to Mr Osborne in his capacity as chair of the Standing Committee on Justice and Community Safety. As members will understand, there are sensitivities about providing information about legal advice outside the Government. You will be aware that a recent decision of the Supreme Court limits the Government's capacity to provide all information, which includes legal opinions, without risking a subsequent court finding that legal professional privilege has been waived. While legal action is not proposed, it is not in the Territory's interests to risk loss of privilege. I thank members for their indulgence, and I move:

That the Assembly takes note of the paper.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Scrutiny Reports Nos 5 and 6 of 1998 and Statement

MR OSBORNE: I present Scrutiny Reports Nos 5 and 6 of 1998 of the Standing Committee on Justice and Community Safety performing the duties of a scrutiny of Bills and subordinate legislation committee, and I ask for leave to make a brief statement on the reports.

Leave granted.

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