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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 8 Hansard (25 August) . . Page.. 2359 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

Mr Speaker, there is no evidence of widespread or even sporadic official corruption. Given the size of the ACT and the level of scrutiny to which the ACT administration and governance is exposed constantly daily, every year, it would be impossible to conceal corruption in this city. What we have here is an attention grabber. What we have here is innuendo and accusation without any substance. What we have here, Mr Speaker, is an attempt by Mr Kaine to slur the Territory. He should withdraw his draft legislation. He should withdraw this motion because it is inappropriate.

MR OSBORNE (11.37): I must admit to being a little bit perplexed at the wording of this motion. I have had discussions with Mr Kaine about his idea and I have indicated to him that I have no problem with any member raising any issue in this Assembly. If he wants to raise this issue, fine. If he wants to have a look at it within committee, fine. I would be happy to assist and that is what I have indicated to Mr Kaine.

I have to say, though, after seeing the wording of this motion, that, if I was forced to vote before there had been any investigation by the committee or before the legislation is even on the table, I would vote against it because it says quite clearly that this Assembly notes the need to legislate for the establishment of this body. Quite clearly, there has been no thorough investigation, nor any acknowledgment by a majority of members in this Assembly that there is a need. Dare I suggest, perhaps, that a bit of Mr Kaine's mischievous nature is shining through here in wanting to have this motion supported today, but I could not do it. We have seen the exposure draft but we have not had the legislation tabled, let alone had a proper look at it, so, if forced to vote today, I would vote against it. I understand, though, that the Labor Party wish to adjourn this debate. If that is the case, that is fine, but I must admit to being reluctant to support a motion worded the way that Mr Kaine has worded this one.

MS CARNELL (Chief Minister) (11.39): Mr Speaker, I think many of the things that needed to be said today have been said, but I would like to add just a few things to the debate. I think it is important to restate, as Mr Smyth did, what exactly Mr Kaine's motion says. The Assembly, if it supported this particular motion, would agree that there was a need to legislate for the establishment and operation of an independent statutory body to investigate matters of official corruption in the Australian Capital Territory. Mr Stanhope certainly indicated that he was not convinced there was a need to legislate. He said his mind was open and he was happy to have the debate, but he was not convinced that there was a need to legislate. Therefore, you would assume that the Labor Party would oppose this motion.

Similarly, look at what has happened since self-government with regard to allegations of corruption. There have been allegations, as Mr Humphries has said. In some of the letters that we have seen in the Canberra Times there have been allegations of corruption in areas such as land deals and planning approvals. Well, some of us certainly will never forget the Stein inquiry. I am sure that Mr Moore and others who were here will not forget it because we did have an inquiry into exactly those things. Stein asked for evidence to be produced in a very free-ranging fashion to substantiate the allegations that had been simmering, shall we say, in the ACT since self-government.

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