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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 8 Hansard (25 June) . . Page.. 2197 ..

MR QUINLAN: You look at a whole lot of projects. I can't say I am totally familiar with each and every one of them, but if the people before us-that is you-got it wrong, then it would seem to me to be commonsense to put it right.

Budget leaks

MS MacDONALD: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Treasurer. Can the Treasurer say if he has seen reports in the media of the Leader of the Opposition being upset at the release of budget information by the government prior to the budget today?

MR QUINLAN: Thank you, Ms MacDonald. I have to confess that I did, in previous times, criticise the Leader of the Opposition when, as Treasurer, he started leaking forward budget material during the draft budget process. I want to point that out and I feel a bit mortified about having done that. I did criticise him for leaking information, I think before Christmas one year, for a May budget. I don't recall particularly criticising the then Treasurer for leaks immediately in the week or so leading up to the budget, and I would be happy to be corrected on that.

But I did read in the Canberra Times that the ACT Liberal Party has "lashed out" at the government about the amount of information being leaked to the media ahead of Tuesday's budget; and Mr Humphries said he was "shocked" by the amount of information being leaked. Mr Speaker, that is an extract from the Canberra Times of recent days. I just happen to have an extract from May of last year. Under the heading "Chief Minister in favour of leak early, leak often tactic", the article stated:

Chief Minister Gary Humphries claimed the "leak early, leak often" approach as his own yesterday, announcing the much pre-announced ACT Budget of 2001.

Making the distinction between himself and the former leader, Kate Carnell, Mr Humphries was quoted as saying:

It ... seemed to me to be bizarre-

"bizarre", Mr Speaker-

to put all the eggs in one basket.

So what was bizarre a year ago now is pernicious.

Mr Stanhope: It is shocking.

MR QUINLAN: What was bizarre last year is now shocking this year.

So thank you, Ms MacDonald. I did want the opportunity to confess that I had criticised the former Treasurer for leaks that were carried out during the draft budget process. However, I did really want to also put some perspective on the issue, on the leak early, leak often tactic, which apparently is the brainchild of the former Chief Minister, Mr Humphries.

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