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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 13 Hansard (25 November) . . Page.. 4590 ..

MR QUINLAN: Well, I guess, for public purposes, the Treasury does not have a view. It provides advice. But let me say this much: it is quite clearly common sense that, if we have had gains that are not sustainable through time, they ought to be invested, as opposed to being committed to recurrent expenditure, when there is no guarantee that the revenue will continue.

So, yes, there is work to be done to use funds that are generated wisely. It has been suggested a number of times that because we have got particular surpluses we ought to do this or the other, and I have to say that there has been some shallow thinking exhibited on the part of some in relation to that. But what we need to do is make sure that we have a sustainable budget through time, but at the same time invest whatever funds are available to the best use and benefit to the ACT community, and that is what we will be trying to do.

Ministerial code of good conduct

MR CORNWELL: My question is to the Chief Minister, Mr Stanhope. Chief Minister, in your code of good conduct policy you stated that your first step would be to "restore confidence in the process of Government". Have you advised your ministers that you would dismiss them if they were found to have deceived the public and do they understand your expectations that they be open, honest and accountable?

MR STANHOPE: I thank Mr Cornwell for the question. I will take the opportunity to say that, as somebody from Bega, I appreciate the question and I say hello to all my ex-neighbours. It is good to see you again. Bega is doing well. It is a great place.

I think the answer to all the parts of the question is that this is a government of such enormously high standing, a government of such probity, a government that takes it as an absolute given always to be honest, accountable and transparent in everything it does that I have not had particular discussions with my ministers in relation to the issues that Mr Cornwell raised.

I imagine that such discussions with ministers were a daily occurrence when you were last in government. I do not know which way it went-whether it went from ministers to the Chief Minister or vice versa-but I would imagine there were lots of discussions about the need to be honest and to tell the truth, or at least to start telling the truth or to stop telling lies. I would have thought that was probably a reasonably-

Mr Smyth: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: standing order 118 (b) says that the Chief Minister cannot debate the point; he actually has to answer for himself and his ministers and nobody else.

MR SPEAKER: Yes. Come to the point of the question.

MR STANHOPE: I will come to the point but I think that would have been very much the nature of conversations that would have been held in the previous cabinet between the Chief Minister and ministers-the conversation would have been: "You have told the truth today, have you?"or "I hope you haven't broken the law again."

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