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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 2 Hansard (9 March) . . Page.. 417 ..



As I understand it, a tender process was conducted. It was conducted normally. One of the reasons the Canberra Injectors Network was chosen is that they had a demonstrated capacity to represent injecting drug users, as is required in this particular tender. The panel was put together in the normal way, with an external person on the panel. Mr Speaker, I am advised that the procedures that were conducted were in accordance with normal practice.

MR STANHOPE: I ask a supplementary question. Thank you, Chief Minister, for that explanation of the history of the matter. Chief Minister, I wonder whether you could assure the Assembly that you are satisfied that the processes that applied to the tender for the awarding of the grant were applied rigorously, transparently and fairly.

MS CARNELL: As I said, I am advised - remember that this is outside my portfolio area, so I have not been involved throughout the process - that the tender process was conducted normally. I am also aware that Mr Kaine has written to Linda Webb, Commissioner for Public Administration, with regard to one person's position on the tender panel. I understand that an investigation, as would always be the case, will be carried out.

Public Servants - Conflict of Interest

MS TUCKER: My question is related to that asked by Mr Stanhope and is for the Chief Minister. It is about the ACT Government's policy for public servants on conflict of interest. Recently in joint hearings of the Urban Services Committee and the Education Committee, where officials were being questioned regarding the processes leading up to the relocation of Ainslie after-school care and in particular the change to the heritage classification of that site, we were told by officials that the officer who had given advice about that matter, advice which by the way did not suit the Government's agenda, had been withdrawn from the discussion because she had a child at Ainslie after-school care and therefore had a conflict of interest, a claim which she rejected. At the same time we see in the Canberra Times that David Butt, when questioned about the appropriateness of an officer making a service purchasing decision for a drug user peer support program that we have just been discussing when there was a close relationship between him and the organisation and whether that was appropriate, replied, "What he does as a private citizen is up to him", and "Throughout the ACT there are a lot of close relationships". My question is: When does a close relationship constitute a conflict of interest and when does it not? Does it just depend on whether the advice is in line with the Government's agenda at the time?

MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, I think it is probably quite lucky for some members that there is parliamentary privilege in this place. My understanding with regard to the person in Heritage, who by the way is now working in my department, so - - -

Ms Tucker: And is very unhappy with your processes but has been told not to speak about them.

MR SPEAKER: Order, please! You have asked your question, Ms Tucker.

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