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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 8 Hansard (25 August) . . Page.. 2361 ..

Mr Humphries: No.

MS CARNELL: No. There was not even a bit of a chat about it in the party room. There was never any view that this was the sort of thing that should be done.

Mr Humphries read out some comments that Mr Kaine had made with regard to Mr Collaery's request for this sort of a body, saying that this should not happen unless there were real allegations and real evidence. That has always been Mr Kaine's view on this. It is the reason he did not bring it forward as Leader of the Opposition or as Chief Minister or as a Minister, so why now? What are the allegations? What is the evidence that makes it different now? Mr Kaine has to come up with those if anybody in this place is to take this seriously. This motion simply cannot be supported because it indicates that there is a need to legislate in an area that will involve significant expenditure.

One of the things that members of this place must take into account is that once you establish an entity like this you can never get rid of it, you can never limit it, and you can never control its budget, simply because it must be at arm's length from the Government. It is looking at official corruption so it has basically an unlimited budget, an unlimited breadth and a life that lasts forever.

You never set up anything like that unless you have evidence because we are entrusted with making sure that taxpayers' money is spent to achieve the best outcome for the taxpayer. In New South Wales and Queensland there was evidence on the table. There was evidence everywhere. There was evidence in the courts of corruption, and therefore the expenditure could be regarded as in the public interest. There is no evidence here and no cases in the court. There are not even any allegations, Mr Speaker. So, as we weigh the costs and the benefit, as we should on every single issue in this place, it is very hard to see any benefit but very easy to see large costs.

Again I come back to the bottom line here. Why has Mr Kaine changed now? He did not ever believe this was important before when he was in a position to implement this approach. You have to come back to thinking that maybe this is really just about politics, Mr Speaker. Unfortunately, this sort of approach could go a long way further than that and it could be quite a significant impact on our budget. It could have quite a significant impact on community services, health, education and police, and all of the other quite significant requirements for money for funding in the Territory.

Mr Humphries: Mr Speaker, under standing order 47, may I correct a reference I made in my speech? I referred to Chief Magistrate Clarrie Briese, and I should have referred to Chief Magistrate Murray Farquhar. I just want to put the record straight.

Debate (on motion by Mr Quinlan ) adjourned.

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