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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 7 Hansard (2 July) . . Page.. 2196 ..

MR MOORE: Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, they were heard in complete silence. I ask for the same courtesy.

MR TEMPORARY DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! Minister Moore has the call.

MR MOORE: Thank you. The editorial continues:

But now the capital investment will almost certainly have to be amortised over five years. If the Commonwealth, as well it might, decides to resume the site for the museum, it is highly unlikely that it will be influenced one way or the other by anything Mr Berry has done. There would not even be left a space for a plaque to mark Mr Berry's obstinacy or his folly with taxpayers' dollars. This habit of misjudgment by Mr Berry - - -

It goes on to talk about his misjudgment in other areas. When Wayne Berry stands here and says people are rewriting history, he is misrepresenting what has happened. He is not being forthright. He is wishing that that were the case. I have to eat some humble pie on this as well, because at the time I supported the stance that Mr Berry took, but with the wisdom of hindsight surely we can say that that is not what we should have done.

Between Mr Stanhope and Mr Berry, we are damned if we do and damned if we do not. One is saying, "It was just Kate Carnell failing to negotiate at the land swap and we should have negotiated much harder". We did negotiate incredibly hard. We pushed the Federal Government right up to the limit. The hospice lease ended a couple of days ago, and we only accepted the Commonwealth's proposal when the Chief Minister met with the Prime Minister about a week earlier. I reckon that is pretty hard ball. We were in the media and in other places and discussing with Senator Macdonald and others the alternatives to keep us on the Acton Peninsula. We were playing hard ball.

Mr Stanhope, on the one hand, is saying "You have to get other things going quickly". Mr Berry is saying, "You have to stay on Acton Peninsula". We are damned if we do and damned if we do not. When you have a party that stands for nothing and when they take you apart whichever way you go, it does make it much more difficult to negotiate. We knew what we were doing. We were proceeding to see whether the Acton Peninsula could remain as the hospice site, and we pushed it as hard as we possibly could.

We now have a 18-month extension. We would not have proceeded if we had not had some insight that we would be able to get an 18-month extension. We have that time now to ensure that we can build the hospice on another site. But with the wisdom of hindsight there is no doubt that spending that kind of money on Acton Peninsula was, as the Canberra Times editorial pointed out at the time, sheer folly. It has nothing to do with the way they would like to rewrite history. It has nothing to do with how the Acton/Kingston land swap went.

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