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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 9 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 3034 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

was done by way of a leak to a newspaper, so it is impossible to say by whom this transgression was committed.

Mr Kaine: I take a point of order, Mr Speaker. I hope the Chief Minister is not accusing me of breaching confidentiality. If he is, he will hear about it some more.

MR SPEAKER: I do not think so. The Chief Minister has rightly raised this matter. As all members would be aware, if a breach of privilege has occurred, it requires somebody to contact me to make that fact known. I cannot do anything about it unless that is the case. I do not believe that any inference is being made. Mr Humphries is simply stating the fact.

Mr Stanhope: I take a point of order. No, he is not. The Chief Minister has just alleged, Mr Speaker, that you, Mr Kaine, Mr Quinlan or the committee secretary leaked information to the Canberra Times. He has just accused you, Mr Speaker, of breaching the privileges of this place. He is alleging that if you did not Mr Quinlan did, or if Mr Quinlan did not Mr Kaine did, or if Mr Kaine did not the committee secretary or a Hansard reporter did.

There is the point that you made, Mr Speaker. The Chief Minister cannot stand up in this place and allege that there has been a breach of privilege in a situation in which only those who could have breached the privilege are identifiable and be allowed by you to proceed on that basis. That is a serious allegation.

MR SPEAKER: Of course it is. But the point is that Mr Humphries has not finished his answer yet. He may very well advise me that he is referring the matter to me for consideration.

MR HUMPHRIES: Indeed, Mr Speaker. I think that would be a very appropriate thing to do, and I indicate that I will in fact do so. The fact is that this is a matter of some concern, and I indicate my concern about this process.

There was consultation by the Actew board in the way described by you, Mr Kaine, and the advice you referred to was given. If you feel that it in some way profits you or the community to have that information on the table, then you have obtained that advantage or profit. Again, it is a matter that goes to the capacity of TransACT to deliver services in this community and its capacity to survive. As I have said already once today, if members of this place, for political or other purposes, seek to capitalise on any difficulties TransACT has faced in the recent past, then it paints a very poor picture of their commitment to the public interest.

MR KAINE: I ask a supplementary question. It has been said publicly that the cost of this venture will not exceed $200 million. Chief Minister, just how much more over and above the money that has now been made available does Actew expect to need to complete the joint venture? Is that total sum greater than $200 million or less than $200 million?

MR HUMPHRIES: I was asked that question just a few minutes ago by Mr Stanhope. I have answered Mr Stanhope.

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