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

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 4 Hansard (28 March) . . Page.. 1059 ..

MR STEFANIAK: I am not going to remind Mr Berry of things like saying that it stacks up and there is money in the bag. That is not the point. The point is that those documents were classified commercial-in-confidence. I wonder whether he would get away with it today, because the situation is a bit different today. Both Mr Osborne and Mr Moore put forward a Public Access to Government Contracts Bill 2000 and this government supported it. As a result, all ministers have to make all contracts over $50,000 available to the Assembly after finalisation. The key words there are "after finalisation".

My understanding is that this contract has not been finalised. After it has been, we will all be able to look at it and the ability to claim that the details are commercial-in-confidence will be subject to strict rules. I wonder whether the former Labor government would have agreed to support such legislation. On their track record, fat chance. Indeed, would a future Stanhope, Quinlan, Berry or whatever Labor government learn from the mistakes of the past? I doubt it very much. In fact, they might be a bit like the Bourbon monarchy in France after it was restored in 1815 following the fall of Napoleon. It was said that "they remembered everything and learnt nothing".

One of the key open-government reforms of this government was the introduction of the draft budget process. Again, members opposite have a real problem with that. That process makes the community and the Assembly aware of what the ACT budget will contain. It gives ordinary people and organisations in the community an opportunity to make a contribution. But what do those opposite intend to do with that draft budget process? They intend to abolish it. A future Labor government would have no time for open government. How can we have any confidence in those opposite if they are going to abolish something as basic, simple and open as a draft budget process? It is really a case of going back to the future.

This government has the best record on open and accountable government of any state or territory government, certainly of any government in the ACT's history. I will just cite a few of the facts. You might not like it, Jon, but-

MR TEMPORARY DEPUTY SPEAKER: Mr Stefaniak, address your remarks to the chair. I am sure that the Leader of the Opposition is interested in the matter before the chair.

MR STEFANIAK: I am sorry; I will address the chair. The Carnell government improved the approval rate for FOI applications from 67.7 per cent under those opposite to 90.3 per cent in 1998-99.

Mr Berry: I take a point of order, Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker. Will you ask the member speaking to direct his comments to the motion before the chamber?

MR TEMPORARY DEPUTY SPEAKER: There is no point of order.

At 5.00 pm, in accordance with standing order 34, the debate was interrupted. The motion for the adjournment of the Assembly having been put and negative, the debate was resumed.

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