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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 7 Hansard (30 June) . . Page.. 1852 ..

MR HIRD (continuing):

because a significant majority of Canberrans believed in what Mrs Carnell and her colleagues had achieved for Canberra between 1995 and 1998, and what they wanted to get on with doing over the next 31/2 years. He was elected on the back of preferences from his fellow Liberal candidates and got over the line by around 50 votes, as I understand it, thanks to the hard work of those colleagues who, I understand, he has never thanked once. I am sure members would be well aware of the efforts put in by Brendan Smyth, who is in the same electorate, and other Liberal members. If Mr Kaine had stood as an Independent - I can speak with some conviction on this - he would be enjoying retirement right now. I am sure Mr Osborne, who is from the same electorate, would agree. Now Mr Kaine is an Independent member and he expects us to believe that he has no history, that he carries no baggage, and that he what he once did and said as a Liberal Minister never happened.

Mr Kaine has argued that this Government acted illegally, even though he was part of the Cabinet that made these decisions and that at the time they were made every single person believed that they were acting within the law at the time. There was no intent, Mr Speaker, either by the Chief Minister or anyone else, to act outside the Financial Management Act. No member of Cabinet could possibly have known that the guidelines required under section 38 of the Act had not been issued. In other words, the question of intent is irrelevant to Mr Kaine. What he is saying is that it does not matter whether you knew what you were doing was unlawful. The fact is that it was later found to be, so you should be dismissed regardless.

I also want to talk briefly about what happened with the X-rated videos which the Chief Minister referred to earlier in this debate, Mr Speaker. Some members may not recall that Mr Kaine, when he was Chief Minister in the Alliance Government, was responsible for developing and introducing the franchise fee on X-rated videos. The legislation imposed a pretty hefty impost on the sale of these products in the Territory, a fact that ought to have rung alarm bells in Mr Kaine's mind if he had thought about the fairly negative views that the courts had taken on State-based taxes up until that time. Barely a couple of years later the High Court struck this tax down and declared it to be illegal. Was a no-confidence motion moved against Mr Kaine because of the fact that he initiated something that was later found to be unlawful, Mr Speaker? No, of course it was not, because Mr Kaine and his colleagues would say that they thought they were acting lawfully at the time they made their decision to introduce this tax. (Further extension of time granted) And they would be right in saying so, Mr Speaker, just as this Government is right in stating that it believes it was acting within the bounds of the Financial Management Act when it made its decision in relation to Bruce Stadium.

Let us not forget what Mr Quinlan said about that either. I know he has put out a press release saying that that was his view on that day, but he told the Estimates Committee:

I am sure the intention was not to commit an illegal act.

Mr Kaine has the absolute hide to come in here today and use one standard to judge Mrs Carnell and her colleagues, including me, but he applies a completely different one to himself and to his actions when he was Chief Minister and was leading a government in this Territory. Mrs Carnell has done nothing wrong and she has my full support. She is innocent. She has broken no laws.

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