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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 10 Hansard (28 August) . . Page.. 3352 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

On 17 August the PAC determined that the transcript ought to be published. That decision was taken because I, as chairman, was going to be away for the following week and there had been a very strong rumour that a member of the media had intended to publish the full story, whether correctly or not I don't know, on the Sunday. The other members of the committee and I felt that they ought to be able at least to address the question, given that we had taken some interest in it, and had acted in as responsible a fashion as is possible in the circumstances. The decision to publish was taken on Friday, 17 August and on Saturday the story broke in the Canberra Times.

Mr Humphries: What a coincidence.

MR QUINLAN: What an absolute coincidence, Chief Minister.

MR SPEAKER: Do you have a supplementary question?

MR STANHOPE: Thank you, Mr Speaker. I must say I think that was probably the best answer given in the Assembly this year. Can the chairman say whether the source for the Canberra Times story originated from his committee?

MR QUINLAN: Nothing is certain in this life, but I will point out a couple of things. The Canberra Times story on the Saturday morning commenced with a banner headline "$29 million additional funding for TransACT", or something of that order.

MR SPEAKER: Be careful you do not express an opinion, please.

MR QUINLAN: I was quoting from the Canberra Times. At the same time I have to say that the figure of $29 million, which I think is equivalent to the Demtel man's line "It's not $10, it's really $9.99", was never mentioned in the committee hearing. In fact the committee meeting we held discussed in many different dimensions a figure of around $30 million. I think it is very significant that the number was refined for the sake of the story, because it is highly unlikely that a committee member leaking the information would have refined it to that point, given the content of the transcript.

Mr Humphries: Methinks he doth protest too much.

MR QUINLAN: I am very confident-

Mr Stanhope: So it was only the shareholders who knew it was $29 million.

MR QUINLAN: That's right.

Mr Stanhope: Only the two shareholders knew that it was $29 million.

MR SPEAKER: Order, Mr Stanhope! Mr Quinlan, I would remind you of standing order 241. Continue, but be careful.

MR QUINLAN: In what regard? I am always reasonably careful, but in what particular dimension or aspect should I be careful?

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