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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 6 Hansard (17 June) . . Page.. 1885 ..



we probed about financial control, we discovered deterioration. What we could not find was any indicator as to how the government would turn this around.

The most dramatic example was Health, where we have a government that is spending more and achieving less. It is no good for this government to keep answering the critics by saying, "We are spending more."It is even worse to be spending more if the situation is not getting any better. Of course more money is needed, but without the appropriate financial controls, without the correct focus for the money, the community will not get better health outcomes. We do need more money but, more importantly, we need to use it to deliver better health outcomes, better educational outcomes, better legal outcomes, and better outcomes for families, for those with disabilities, and for all of our citizens.

The most interesting revelations in the committee process were that the Treasurer, probably unintentionally, acknowledged that Mrs Carnell should not have been held responsible for the mistake that led to her resignation as Chief Minister and, secondly, that the person who had been counselled over the leaked document had had an involvement in a political office.

On the first matter, within the appropriate context, Mr Quinlan actually stated, "If there's a presumption of innocence in all of this, then everybody's innocent."It would not surprise me to see the Treasurer back away a little from what he said. I hope he will not. If he does, we will know that what he let slip in all probability was accurate and should not be dismissed. That will be the case even if it is seen as a Freudian slip.

On the second matter, there are still questions about that document and, even more importantly, a whole range of new issues have been raised about the process for the person's appointment, the enthusiasm of the government to ensure the protection of this information and why it was that no senior officer reprimanded the managers involved until such time as it became a political embarrassment.

Mr Speaker, the report speaks for itself. The government has had windfall gains, but this report questions whether those gains will be used effectively for the benefit of the people of Canberra.

On a disappointing note, I would like to express my complete and utter disappointment that a breach of privilege has soured the estimates process. Having spent so much time and expended so much effort together, I would have thought that such an incident would have been avoided for the greater good. Unfortunately, that was not the case. This breach of privilege has tarnished not only the Assembly's committee and estimates systems, but also the relationships and trust levels of individual members. It is disappointing that this has occurred.


(11.44): Mr Speaker, addressing the issue Mrs Cross just raised, I think that all too often it is a common occurrence in this place for a committee to get right to the stage of tabling a report or document and members of the committee hear material from it broadcast on radio or read about it in the Canberra Times. Mr Speaker, that has to stop; it just has to stop. It is crystal clear that it is a breach of privilege.

In this report there are three recommendations that the Assembly consider whether it should convene a privileges committee to consider three different subjects. In my view,

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