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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 12 Hansard (25 November) . . Page.. 3709 ..

MR SPEAKER: I am amazed at the way they constantly twist and turn.

MS CARNELL: Thank you, Mr Speaker. I think the real issue here, and it must be the real issue here, is whether Ministers should get involved in these processes, and quite clearly they should not. One of the things the coroner said very definitely was that the approach that I took in not getting involved in the tender process or with people who were tendering or applying for tenders with the ACT Government was totally appropriate, and that is the approach that we will continue to take on this side of the house. We will not have direct contact with people applying for tenders. We will not get personally involved in these areas because it would be contrary to our whole approach. But, Mr Speaker, as I said, Mr Gilmour has met with Project Coordination to discuss these issues, as he should.

Former Chief Executive of Chief Minister's Department

MR OSBORNE: My question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, I would like to set the scene, and you will be more than aware of the following two issues. The first is Bruce Stadium, where you set out to spend $12m and it now appears that the taxpayer will be exposed to about $40m in expenditure, or possibly more. Who can say? We also know it is beyond argument that the people in charge of this project continued to spend money without the approval of this place. Even using your measure of the issue, which I do not accept, that it was a technical oversight, I think you must agree that some fairly serious consequences have flowed from it. The second issue is the coroner's report into the hospital implosion. This said many things but I will quote just two. The first was that there were systemic failures within the ACT Public Service in managing the project and that turning the process into a public spectacle was, and I quote, "a total abrogation of responsibility to the safety and wellbeing of the general Canberra community". Now, Chief Minister, I would like to read something from the Canberra Times by the former head of the ACT Public Service, Mr John Walker. He said:

The purpose of good management in the public sector needs to be the improvement of the welfare of the people.

Mr Walker said that when he was awarded an AM in the Queen's Birthday Honours List for - wait for it - his role in introducing administrative reforms to the ACT Public Service. My question is this: Chief Minister, given all the evidence, will you now ask Mr Walker to return the award?

MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, I think Mr Walker and, I have to say, all of our senior public servants have done an absolutely wonderful job in improving the way that our Public Service works - the whole structural reform. It is interesting that, in respect of Australian honours, it is not this Assembly or any member of this place who assesses the applications. Mr Speaker, you know this.

Mr Stanhope: Who nominated him?

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