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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 8 Hansard (27 October) . . Page.. 2274 ..

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, can I please be allowed to answer this question?

MR SPEAKER: Order! Settle down!

MR HUMPHRIES: How can you condemn the release of information about ACTEW's customers and, at the same time, not blush when seeking the report of the UMS study? What is the standard, Mr Speaker? Are they saying that information of this kind should remain confidential or are they not? Are they saying it should be confidential or are they not? Which is it, Mr Corbell? Should information which is commercial-in-confidence - - -

Mr Corbell: When John Mackay says it is confidential, why do you release it? Why do you release information that John Mackay says is confidential?

MR SPEAKER: Order! This is not a debate across the chamber, thank you. Mr Humphries is answering the question.

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, I think the Opposition needs to decide what it wants to do in this debate. It is again prepared to chase an argument down a rabbit burrow because it thinks it gets a short-term bang out of it, but the reality is that it is not being consistent. If the information is commercially sensitive, then it clearly should not be released. Mr Speaker, that is why the Government has not agreed to the releasing of the UMS study. Mr Speaker, what is clear is that the information on other things is not necessarily commercially sensitive. As I say, I am confident that the Chief Minister and the chief executive will remain in touch in the future of this debate about the release of information of that kind.

Proposed ACT Prison

MR OSBORNE: My question is addressed to the Minister for Justice, Mr Humphries. Minister, on 3 September this year, the Assembly approved that the Justice and Community Safety Committee undertake an inquiry into aspects of the Territory's proposed prison. The terms of reference for the inquiry have as their starting point whether or not a prison is even justified and then they work forward from there. As chair of this committee, you can imagine my surprise when I read on the front page of Monday's newspaper a series of announcements from you, Minister, including the timeframe for building the facility, details of the tenders and consultancies that would be on offer, criteria for siting, how much the prison would cost to build and run each year, specific design details of the building, et cetera. It even stated that the committee was to pinpoint the preferred site, which I think was the only thing you mentioned which was not in the committee's terms of reference. Minister, I understand that while I was on leave you addressed the Justice Committee. My colleagues on the committee were of the opinion that you were going to write to the Justice Committee regarding the prison, so you can imagine their surprise when they too read the newspaper yesterday. Minister, I am interested in why you chose to make such an announcement, given that the Justice Committee is currently in the middle of such an inquiry.

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