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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 1 Hansard (15 February) . . Page.. 222 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

Here we have: "We have a problem here. We have a problem there. We will throw a little money at that. We will probably have a launch at some time this year on that. We will probably have a glossy brochure on that saying, 'This is what your government is doing for you,' and we will have the photo opportunity and probably not a great deal of result."

This week this documentation was released at a press conference held by the Chief Minister and Treasurer and it was not issued to the Assembly. The Assembly was not advised at all, not even after that press release. There was no attempt to give to the Assembly even the advice to the media so that there would be balanced public debate and that scrutiny and accountability that arise out of debate and the various parties in a parliament taking opposite positions and teasing out the various elements of an issue. We do not want that, and that really is what a large part of public accountability and consultation is about.

This is about the government not wanting to do that; in fact, it quite consciously avoids that process, to the stage where we are now debating referring a document to the committees, a document that will be along tomorrow.

Mr Stanhope: Why tomorrow? Why close-of-business tomorrow? Because the debate is over.

MR QUINLAN: This is the fairly transparent game that the government is playing with us and with the media. Quite frankly, if the media does not crucify the government in the next few days over at least the processes of this week, I will be very disappointed, because it has been a very cynical exercise. To run a press conference-

Mr Berry: Look forward to a bad day, mate.

MR QUINLAN: I live in hope. This process has been about showing the government in the best light possible, again with this scattergun approach and this bulking up-everything is a program nowadays.

Mr Stanhope: Why 5 o'clock tomorrow?

MR QUINLAN: As I said, this is a cynical approach. (Extension of time granted.) It is designed as a PR exercise, the whole lot of it. Joseph Goebbels would have been proud to be if associated with this. I think that he would have been proud. I know that this motion in some form will be passed. The conservative majority in this house favours the process. I have to say that over the last year or so, the decision having been made by the Assembly, as a member and as chairman of the Assembly public accounts committee, I have made my contribution to the process.

It is always within the government's interest to say that they were a waste of time, again because that is what it is, a propaganda exercise, a PR exercise. If I actually felt that this process would make a positive contribution and that there was a sincere desire to do so, I would participate in it wholeheartedly. However, it is a manipulative process, manipulative of the media and manipulative of the Assembly, and has treated the Assembly abominably this week because the press conference was yesterday and we are going to get the draft budget tomorrow.

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