Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 7 Hansard (30 June) . . Page.. 1795 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

When did the chain of deception start? Clearly, the deception started on day one. The business plan for Bruce Stadium contained estimates of attendances and revenues that were obviously fanciful - so fanciful that I am given to understand that they were dismissed out of hand in about 10 seconds flat by primary stakeholders. Given the track record, you could be excused for suspecting that Mrs Carnell had already made a decision to redevelop the stadium and only needed the inevitable consultants to rationalise that decision. She has form on that score - just look at the shifting numbers during the ACTEW debate.

I have written a couple of times asking the Chief Minister for a copy of that business plan, because I have only some parts of it. I have made public calls for that plan to be published. The Chief Minister has steadfastly refused - not a bureaucrat; the Chief Minister, under her own hand, more than once. Why do you think that might have been? Mrs Carnell was aware that the plan was based on some totally and obviously ridiculous estimates. It was a rationalisation, not a reasoning behind the decision to redevelop Bruce Stadium. It was the first part of a protracted deception and the first part of the tangled web. Mrs Carnell said in her speech that the redevelopment project was not an ad hoc decision. If not, it was a considered choice to adopt crazy figures.

At a point in time the Auditor-General scheduled a performance audit. Let me just interrupt myself there to say that originally the Bruce Stadium performance audit was put on the Auditor-General's program by the public accounts committee that I chaired because we did have concerns about it and we had very little information, so my committee did not examine it and did not examine the presentation and disclosure. My committee referred it to the Auditor-General because we had doubts.

After the Assembly had resolved that all the documents were to be made available, we found the Government rapidly trying to cover its tail. We found out at the Estimates Committee proceedings on 25 May that the original figures of attendance were 707,000-plus. The revised figures in a year - that is, the attendance for the year - were 286,000, some 40 per cent of the original figures. The considered decision was based on the original figures and I think everybody who saw them once would have said, "You've got to be kidding"; but we wanted to bat on. Is anyone surprised? Of course not.

You cannot convince me that the Chief Minister did not know that the estimates supporting her decision were not straight from fairyland. In this town, few decisions are taken without the Chief Minister's knowledge. Most power is centralised in her department. I have written and spoken previously of the parallel empires. There is the official Executive and administration which, I am sorry to say, lads, is largely ineffectual - and I do agree with your self-assessment in relation to taking the Chief Minister's position if she is rolled today - and there is the other empire which supports Kate Carnell, the phenomenon; I do not know Kate Carnell, the person. Kate Carnell, the phenomenon, is supported by a strong PR machine, one or two favoured bureaucrats and several characters from the business world, characters that I believe hold Mrs Carnell firmly by the ego and lead her by the nose. Frankly, I do not want my town run by visiting merchant bankers. But I do believe that she knows the detail of what was actually happening and the millions that were at stake.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .