Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 10 Hansard (14 October) . . Page.. 3182 ..
MR STANHOPE (continuing):
Stadium, broke the law. That was the nature of the debate in May. That was the nature of the debate we were having about the Financial Management Act and this Government's attitude to it.
That is the debate we were having about whether or not this Government, in its redevelopment of the Bruce Stadium, was actually acting within the law. We discovered in no less than three legal opinions, two of them from QCs and one from a Professor of Law, that, indeed, the Government had breached the Financial Management Act. So is it any surprise that perhaps members of the Opposition, members of the Assembly and members of the public were suggesting there is something wrong with the Financial Management Act?
I am staggered that the Attorney comes in here today and seeks to denigrate the Opposition for, in May of this year, raising a tad of a concern about the Financial Management Act and this Government's administration of it. The fact is that we have come through this amazing process of discovering that this Government spent tens of million dollars of unappropriated funds; that this Government acted illegally; that this Government acted contrary to the law; that this Government acted contrary to the Financial Management Act. It is quite staggering to me that the Attorney comes in here today and seeks to cast some doubts - - -
Mr Moore: On a point of order: We have tried to let Mr Stanhope go, Mr Deputy Speaker, but he was, in fact, reflecting on a vote of Assembly earlier and then was doing it again. We have tried to let it go, but it is inappropriate to reflect on a vote of the Assembly.
MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: There are circumstances around that, as we have debated many times in this Assembly. Skirt around it carefully, Mr Stanhope.
MR STANHOPE: Certainly. I was responding to the direct comments made by the Attorney just five minutes ago when he invited Mr Quinlan to actually speak again. He said that he was happy to give leave to Mr Quinlan to respond to these allegations that he was casting across the chamber as to the Opposition's attitude to the Financial Management Act in debates in May. Our attitude to the Financial Management Act - and this is a direct response to the Attorney-General - in early May was that we had serious suspicions about whether or not the Government was acting in accordance with the law - suspicions which were subsequently proven to be correct.
Ms Carnell: What have you done about it?
MR STANHOPE: What we did about it, Chief Minister, was move a motion of no confidence in you which was not passed. But you were censured for your administration of the Financial Management Act and the fact that you breached that Act as well as breaching the Self-Government Act. You were censured for that, Chief Minister, and, as we all know, the Auditor-General is further looking into that matter. And, as we all know, Mr Osborne and Mr Rugendyke have declared that if the Auditor-General's report is half as bad as they expect it to be they will revisit the matter and they may themselves actually move another motion of no-confidence in you.