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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 7 Hansard (30 June) . . Page.. 1867 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

years. What sort of Minister do you want sitting on these benches - one who is prepared to own up, to correct the mistake and to get on with providing effective government in this Territory, or the other sort? I think it is pretty clear. I am proud to support the Chief Minister in this debate tonight, because I think she is the most worthy person in this place to sit in the position of Chief Minister and lead this Territory into the future.

MR QUINLAN: Mr Speaker, in response to Mr Humphries' call, I do wish to make a withdrawal.

MR SPEAKER: You wish to make a personal explanation? Yes.

MR QUINLAN: Yes. In respect of any imputation that the Chief Minister received a brown paper parcel, even though my statement was in the negative, I do wish to withdraw any inference of that because I do not want Mr Humphries' sanctimonious feigned outrage to distract us from the substance of this debate, as most of his speech attempted to do. So I do withdraw any inference.

MR BERRY (8.09): Mr Speaker, the first thing I would like to deal with is some remarks made by Mr Moore. I will not waste too much time on these. I must say that I felt that Mr Moore's intemperate and personal contribution to the debate was not that helpful. Judged against past utterances from this Minister, Mr Moore, I think what he said tonight means that in future very little of what he says could possibly be taken seriously. He did say of the Bruce Stadium disaster that "it's like putting an extension on your home". No, Mr Moore, it is like putting an extension on a house you are renting and paying for it with money you have misappropriated. That explains the position that the Government has found itself in, and it explains the serious nature of this issue and how the Government is now trying to squirm out of an awful disaster. We do not own Bruce and you used taxpayers' money without approval. That is how it can be simply explained.

This episode has all the usual characteristics of this Chief Minister's behaviour. When I first heard the Chief Minister talking about this on radio after the illegalities were exposed she was keen then, because it was the popular thing to do, to take responsibility for this. At that time I am sure she felt confident that she would be able to worm her way out of the position she was in, but things have changed now. It seems now that the heat is going to be turned back on the public servants because Minister after Minister is now saying that it was not the Chief Minister's actions that caused these sorts of things to happen.

Look, let's face it. When a mistake, large or small, has been discovered in the Territory, the first response in this place or outside has been a tirade of abuse, followed by a smokescreen of excuses and artful media management. This is no different. From the days when a former member of this place, Andrew Whitecross, was viciously ridiculed when he found the first holes in this now proven folly, in the attendance projections at the time and seating arrangements through to the ultimate exposure of the illegality of the Chief Minister's actions, nothing has changed. The approach has always been the same - that same old smokescreen of excuses and artful media management. Mr Speaker, the same tactics, as I said, have emerged here. In this case, once caught out, there was a humble apology, but only once caught out, and that pattern of behaviour persists.

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