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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 7 Hansard (30 June) . . Page.. 1793 ..

MS CARNELL (continuing):

The brief goes on to say:

Underlying many of these issues is the acceptance of past administrative practices. The extent of influence of past practices on contemporary transactions is illustrated by the acceptance of these practices by both internal and external audit reviews. This acceptance has fed a false sense of security about the validity of these older practices. Officers, like others, concluded that the legality of their actions had been confirmed by the long-standing nature of the practice. They believed that they were acting appropriately.

It is accepted that this does not excuse these problems but is offered by way of explanation of the identified deficiencies and other weaknesses in administrative practice.

Mr Speaker, that document was publicly released on 3 June but, for the information of members, I will table it now, because it is important that all members read it. Mr Speaker, this document has never been quoted by the media, nor by any members of this Assembly, yet it has been widely available. When Cabinet authorises a transaction, it is entitled to assume that those charged with carrying out that decision will do so in accordance with the requirements and processes of the law. Even though we have conceded that a mistake was made, for which I take responsibility, Cabinet was entitled to believe that its directions in relation to Bruce Stadium would be given effect to lawfully.

I will summarise the case that I have put before this Assembly. The accusation has been made that I acted illegally. No, Mr Speaker, I did not. I have demonstrated that that is simply not the case. At all times, my ministerial colleagues, public servants and I have acted in good faith with the sole motivation of trying to save taxpayers' money and minimise their exposure to the costs of the redevelopment. There is no way that I, as Chief Minister or Treasurer, or any other members of Cabinet, which, I have to say, included Mr Kaine, could have known that a guideline that was required to make investments or loans legal under the Act had not been issued. If Mr Stanhope had been in the Chief Minister's role at that stage, he could not have known either. I challenge any member of this Assembly to say that, when presented with the same evidence as Cabinet was, in our shoes they would not have acted in exactly the same way. The fact is that all of us would have.

I have shown that the funds for Bruce Stadium were not included in an Appropriation Act, but that the approach taken by the Government was a legitimate way of spending public moneys. There are ways other than an Appropriation Act that public money is spent, not just by this Government, but by every government in Australia. Mr Speaker, put simply, I have shown categorically that you can spend money, and must, without that money being listed in an Appropriation Act. If that was not the case, no public servants would be paid after today.

Put simply, I am on trial today because a set of guidelines was not put in place. Is there any evidence that Mr Stanhope has presented which shows that I, or any of my colleagues, including Mr Kaine, knowingly set out to flout the laws of the Territory? Is

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