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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 7 Hansard (21 June) . . Page.. 2343 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

The argument that documents should not be available within six or 10 years of their being executed or being put before the cabinet is rather undercut in the case of the opposition by calls they have recently made for cabinet documents relating to the Bruce Stadium redevelopment to be tabled not in six or 10 years time but right now, within less than three years of their being made. It seems that different rules are operating in that case and in the case being put by them in this debate.

If the community is mature enough to see the cabinet documents and understand the context of the cabinet documents that were created between one and three years ago in the ACT, why are they not mature enough and adult enough to be able to understand the context of documents created 10 years ago? As usual when embarrassed, the opposition finds reasons to have a discussion about something or other.

Mr Stanhope: I am going to respond and rebut the nonsense you speak.

MR HUMPHRIES: I am looking forward to the response. I would like to know why it is all right to have the cabinet documents created recently but not the ones created 10 years ago or six years ago, as the case may be.

Mr Moore: He might change his mind and vote against his own amendment or withdraw it.

MR HUMPHRIES: You never know. We will have to assess the effectiveness of this move, and perhaps we should reconsider it at some point in the future. But at this point I am not convinced that we should move this disclosure any closer than 10 years. I think that is a reasonable compromise. I note that some in this place are arguing for prospective disclosure of six years. I think a fair compromise is retrospective disclosure of 10 years. I would urge members to support that compromise in the spirit in which it is offered.

MR STANHOPE (Leader of the Opposition) (3.49): Some rather spurious arguments have been advanced in this debate. I wish to respond to the point just made by the Chief Minister and endorsed by the leader of government business-a firm, honourable and consistent member of the cabinet-about attempts by the Labor Party to seek access to cabinet documents relating to Bruce Stadium. Having yesterday read the latest of the Auditor-General's reports on Bruce Stadium, I guess one can understand the government's continuing embarrassment at the laughable attempts of its administration over the last three years. But that is separate issue.

We need to reflect on exactly what has been sought over the last three years in relation to Bruce Stadium. There were two separate attempts to access documents relating to Bruce Stadium. One of them was by the Assembly itself. The Assembly asked for all documents related to the redevelopment proposal. That was a resolution in the Assembly. That resolution did not include a request for access to cabinet decisions in relation to Bruce Stadium. From my memory of it, the Assembly resolution-if not explicitly, quite implicitly-excluded a request for access to cabinet documents. In the event, the government, in responding to the Assembly's request for documents in relation to Bruce Stadium, did not provide it with cabinet documents, either submissions or decisions.

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