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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 5 Hansard (5 May) . . Page.. 1353 ..

MR MOORE: What I am saying is that there is no cover-up. All this material is already available to the Auditor-General. Where there are any contractual issues or commercial-in-confidence issues, the Auditor-General can look at them. He, in turn, will report to the public accounts committee. The public accounts committee can then ask the Auditor-General about these issues to follow them up. They can seek to look at these areas and, within the committee approach, deal with them. That is exactly what we are talking about.

Mr Corbell: Open and accountable government, the full monty.

MR MOORE: Mr Corbell, I hear you arguing for open and accountable government. Mr Corbell, when your colleagues were in government, there were many times when I asked them to release documents and the answer that I got was that they were commercial-in-confidence. Mr Berry, you will remember this. I argued for quite some time that I did not believe in commercial-in-confidence. Prior to taking on this ministry, I said we needed to review the issue of commercial-in-confidence because it is overused by government. I still say that.

It is entirely appropriate for the Auditor-General to look at this matter. It is entirely appropriate for it to be reviewed by the public accounts committee. You do not buy a dog and then bark yourself. That is exactly what is happening. I understand that Mr Stanhope does not have faith in the chair of the public accounts committee to be able to do that job. I am sure that Mr Stanhope is particularly disappointed in Mr Quinlan's effort as chair of the public accounts committee in dealing with the report of the Auditor-General on this very matter which was tabled a couple of weeks ago. The committee came down with no comment. I understand that there is a wedge in there and that it is very difficult, so you come back to this sort of process. We have an appropriate process to follow. That is the process we should follow first. If that process is not working, or we have a problem with that process, then it is time to come back and deal with these issues, unless it is not the financial issues you are worried about but purely politics. If it is purely politics, then I suggest, Mr Corbell, that you in particular, because you generally have an open mind on such things, look at the documents that Mr Humphries tabled and see whether the process that was followed is almost identical, if not entirely identical, with the process that has been followed here. It is a beat-up and you know it. If it is not a beat-up, the Auditor-General is the appropriate person to tell you to separate this from the pure politics which you are enjoying so much.

MS TUCKER (12.13): From one who never enjoys pure politics, that is quite good, Mr Moore. There are a number of issues I would like to address in this debate. The first thing I would like to get on the record is that I do not agree that this is in some way a slight on the Auditor-General, as the Chief Minister spent a lot of time inferring. This is about making information available to the members of the Assembly in the interests of the community. The Auditor-General is indeed undertaking a performance audit. I have great faith in the quality of his work, and we all await with interest the results of his performance audit.

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