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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 8 Hansard (24 August) . . Page.. 2280 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

ACT at the present time, and I think they are more than adequate to cope with the problems, whatever those problems might be, that are given rise to by issues of corruption.

The second point is the question of the cost-benefit of having a commission established to deal with the issue when the level of problem that you are addressing has not been clearly demonstrated. There is no doubt, Mr Speaker, that if we establish a commission against corruption in the ACT it will find work to do. Mr Kaine mentioned the fact that there were some references from the ACT to the New South Wales ICAC. I understand that there are a very large number of references all the time to the New South Wales ICAC and to the equivalent body in Queensland, a very large number of references. They are from individuals who are discontented. Because they have had some rejection or some loss or something has been a bit suspicious, they are prepared to point the finger and say there is corruption.

It is also, regrettably, the habit of many politicians, particularly opposition politicians in those two States, to say, "There's something funny here. I sense that there is something going wrong. I am referring this to ICAC", and off goes a letter. The vast majority of those matters are not investigated in any serious way because they disclose no evidence of any corruption.

Mr Speaker, the point I make about this is a very simple one. We need to be clear that there would be a reasonable workload of cases of corruption in the ACT before there is any point in establishing an ICAC in the ACT. No Minister anywhere in the world could say that there is no corruption in their jurisdictions. There will be instances of corruption, certainly at a minor level. There is no doubt about that whatsoever. That is the case in the ACT as well, undoubtedly. But an ICAC should not be about a person who goes around collecting money from the parking meters and keeps a few dollars in his pocket. That is not what an ICAC should be about. It should be about major institutional corruption or corruption of a serious or official nature. I do not believe we have seen any evidence of that in the 10 years of self-government. I do not believe that Mr Kaine has seen any evidence of that either because he has not put any on the table. He did make a suggestion about some sort of police corruption, but I understand he has withdrawn that suggestion. So we are left without any material on which to base a claim of this kind. I emphasise to Mr Kaine that I have not got a closed mind to his suggestion, but I would like to see more tangible evidence that there would be real work for that body to do before this side of the chamber would support its creation.

Department of Treasury and Infrastructure

MR WOOD: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Chief Minister and it refers to the re-birth of the Department of Treasury with Infrastructure tagged onto it. Chief Minister, is this an acknowledgment that your incorporation some years ago of Treasury into the Chief Minister's Department was a mistake? Why change back now? Is it the case that the new department is merely a public relations exercise to try to distract attention from the financial mismanagement of Bruce Stadium?

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