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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 12 Hansard (24 November) . . Page.. 3567 ..

MR OSBORNE (11.33): As I have already publicly stated, I will not be supporting this motion of no confidence today. It is not that I do not see incompetence, failure, unnecessary bureaucratic and political interference, and culpable behaviour in the coroner's findings. On the contrary, such actions are tragically numerous. In considering this report, I have taken the point made by the coroner that he found evidence of unprofessional action by public officials at all levels and that there were systemic failures with the way the project was handled from start to finish.

In fact, I have taken the point on board so strongly that I have become convinced that only a deep-seated change to the structure of the senior levels of our Public Service can prevent such comprehensive failure in the future. The question has been asked of me this past fortnight that, given my recognition of the senior bureaucratic failings, why is that, in itself, not enough to change Chief Minister or indeed to change government. In response to that question, it is at times like this that I am too aware of my responsibilities as an elected member of the parliament. In my time here as a member of this Assembly I have come to hold certain principles and responsibilities in very high regard.

I believe in giving government stability to perform. I believe very strongly that government, including individual Ministers, and the performance of their departments, are called to be accountable to this parliament and to the people of Canberra. I also believe that the people of Canberra are the ones who should rightly choose at each election, if it is clearly evident, which of the major parties is to govern the Territory - whether that be this Liberal Party with 37 per cent of the vote, or perhaps the Labor Party at some time in the future. At my previous two elections I have been guided by the people of Canberra on this matter and I believe that it has been right and proper for me to have done so.

However, while I am extremely loath to support the sacking of an individual Minister or to force a change of government, there are circumstances under which I will, indeed, do so. That I have not done so yet should not be taken by anyone, especially this Government, to mean that I will never take such action in the future. In fact, it is the gravity with which I view the findings of the coroner in regard to the performance of our senior public servants that has caused me to wait for the Auditor-General's report. I wish to weigh up the performance of these officials and the performance of the administrative structure within which they operate, in the context of the Bruce Stadium redevelopment.

I believe that this is a fair and reasonable approach for me to take, given that many of the people involved were the same. And, to a large extent, the systemic failings of the bureaucracy appear to be the same. To this end, I regard the Auditor-General, not as an umpire, but rather as a research assistant and do not believe that I have placed either him or the position that he holds under undue pressure. I expect that he will carry out his investigation into Bruce Stadium in the same professional and capable manner with which he has always operated, and that he will report when the investigation is complete.

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