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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 13 Hansard (9 December) . . Page.. 4126 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

unlawfully. I did not actually appropriate them according to the law. I went ahead and spent tens of millions of dollars of taxpayers' money and I was censured for it. But the Assembly made me do it. The Assembly made me withdraw the private sector funding". Of course, we all know that that is simply not true, but it is a continuation of this failure to accept responsibility. It is like the statement made on 2 December in relation to this matter.

Ms Carnell: I take a point of order, Mr Speaker. I thought that this MPI was very definitely on a particular issue that the Chief Minister failed to accept responsibility for, but that has nothing to do with it.

MR SPEAKER: I was distracted. Is it to do with relevance?

MR STANHOPE: I was speaking on a matter of relevance. It was in the context of the extent to which the Chief Minister goes to avoid all responsibility for administration. The case I was making was, quite clearly, in context and very relevant. It was on the question I asked yesterday about the Chief Minister's attempts to deflect attention from the fact that only a few months ago she was censured by the Assembly for actually expending moneys without due appropriation - in other words, unlawfully - in relation to Bruce Stadium by going on the ABC in her weekly radio slot and suggesting that the Assembly forced her to withdraw the private sector funding.

It is the same issue. It is the same as the statement that was made last week in relation to the temporary accommodation allowance. She has made no attempt at all to accept responsibility for the fundamental issue that we have senior public servants, earning up to over $200,000, being provided the wonderful luxury of five full years of temporary accommodation allowance. In other words, people moving from, say, Sydney to Canberra to take up senior appointments with the ACT Public Service, appointments attracting salaries of between $170,000 and $250,000, are for the full five years of the term picking up potentially $400 a week.

Let us get to the fundamentals of the matter we are talking about. When the appropriateness of this payment was raised the Chief Minister's instinctive reaction was to say, "Do not look to me to accept any responsibility for this. It was done by the Labor Party. The Labor Party's public sector guidelines are the cause of this". We discovered a week later, after some serious questioning, that the guidelines were amended totally and absolutely to extend the maximum period of three years to five years. We had an additional two years at $400 a week potentially added just like that.

There was no mention of that by the Chief Minister in her statements to the Canberra Times. There was no mention of that in her statements to, particularly, Ten Capital, which simply ran them unquestioningly and actually put out the misleading impression that it was all about the Labor Party and nothing to do with her administration, a completely wrong view. It was all to do with her administration and her period of stewardship of the Chief Minister's Department. The rules were changed in 1996 while she was Minister. She will not accept it. She will not accept responsibility. She deliberately sought to create this other impression that it had nothing to do with her. It is just a continuation of the theme that we have seen for the last two years of "not, not, not responsible".

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