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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 8 Hansard (9 August) . . Page.. 2703 ..

MR KAINE (continuing):

You can make all the claims you want about the event being an outstanding success and all the other claims that were made in here, but what we are looking for in terms of being accountable for public money is the proof of that. I think that what has been delivered falls far short of what the government claimed and far short of what we as responsible representatives of the community would expect. I would be looking for some sort of income and expenditure statement so we can verify what was received and what was spent. That should include payments to AVESCO. That is simply one of the costs of mounting this event. There is no excuse whatsoever for the government to claim that this information is commercial-in-confidence. How can it be commercial-in-confidence? The government is spending public money and the people are entitled to know where that money is going so that they, as well as we, can make a judgment about whether they are getting a fair return for it. This is a typical case of the government hiding behind the commercial-in-confidence label, which is totally unjustified.

Mr Deputy Speaker, the only other thing that I want to comment upon is the attendance figures. We have been told what the attendance figures were purported to be, but I have found on short inspection that they do not add up. This minister's statement tells us that, in round figures, 12,000 three-day tickets were sold. On page 4 of the report, there are statistics about who attended. On no day of the three did more than about 6,500 three-day ticket holders attend. Is the minister telling us that 3,500 people bought three-day tickets and did not attend on any day? How much did they pay for them, and did they just throw their money away? I do not believe that. So the question is: how many three-day tickets did they sell? Was it 12,000 or was it of the order of 6,000 to 6,500, which is what the daily attendances on each of the three days would indicate?

That raises questions in my mind about just how rubbery these figures are. It was claimed that there was a total daily attendance of 101,000 approximately. Just how good are those figures? It has been claimed that there was a minor drop from last year. I suspect that the figures have been well and truly worked over before they have been presented to us. If the rest of the financial information in this document is as rubbery as the claims about selling tickets, then the government has a lot of work to do yet to convince me, and I hope the rest of the people in this place, that the outcome is as it now presents it to be. It is very dubious, in my view.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Justice and Community Safety-Standing Committee

Report No 14 of 2001-government response

MR STEFANIAK (Minister for Education and Attorney-General) (4.31): I present the following paper:

Justice and Community Safety-Standing Committee-Report No 14-The Defamation Bill 1999 (presented 1 May 2001)-Government response.

I move:

That the Assembly takes note of the paper.

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