Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 4 Hansard (28 March) . . Page.. 1056 ..

MR BERRY (continuing):

period by way of a letter. Neither has he taken the opportunity to apologise during a sitting of this place where he has had plenty of opportunity to do so.

Members, there is absolutely no doubt that we have been deliberately misled. This misleading has been deliberately constructed to make sure that this government avoids scrutiny in relation to this matter. This minister deserves to be censured.

MR KAINE (4.47): Mr Deputy Speaker, I must say that the fact that this matter has reached the point of there being a motion of censure against the minister does demonstrate some unwillingness on his part to do the right thing and be accountable. If he had done so we would not be considering this motion now.

When the minister was on his feet I was waiting for him to explain why it was that he was here defending a censure motion today. But he did not do so. He went on the attack. He did not choose to defend his position whatsoever. So I think it really is a question of whether the minister has acted responsibly in connection with some events precipitated by an organisation which is a creature of government and which, according to the machinery of government, is responsible to him and over which, therefore, he does exercise some control. From what has been said so far, I think there are still big gaps in that question. I am still somewhat confused about the whole situation.

I want to deal with a couple of matters that have arisen from the debate already. I think the minister's responsibility to this place and to the community lies in the question of his responsibility to implement the Territory Plan. As has already been spelt out, the Territory Plan is clearly specified in terms of the interests of this community-not in the interests of the commercial operation known as Canberra International Airport, not in terms of the National Capital Authority's interests, but in terms of the interests of the people of Canberra.

When the minister said earlier, "Well, you know, Brindabella Park is not part of my responsibility-that is the National Capital Authority's responsibility," in my view he immediately abdicated his responsibility. According to the Territory Plan, if CTEC as a government organisation were going to move anywhere, it should have moved to a place specified within the Territory Plan as a place where that sort of business activity should be conducted. The minister should have not permitted the board to decide that "we are going to go to the airport". The responsibility for that rests with the National Capital Authority and the management board of the airport, not with the government of the ACT and not with the minister.

So I am a little confused as to why the minister did not say to the board "that is outside of your consideration" and given them a direction, which he is entitled to do under the law, to cease considering a move to that place. I would have thought he would have done that. But he has abdicated his responsibility to the community by allowing them to move there in the first place.

The second matter that I want to deal with briefly is the question of commercial-in-confidence. I must say that I am totally confused about the government's attitude to this. At the beginning of this incident, the minister was quite open. He said, "Yes, I will put the papers on the table." Indeed, he did say that twice and I am sure this is recorded in the Hansard.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .