Page 2393 - Week 08 - Tuesday, 28 June 2005

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I think it is interesting—and it should be on the record—that, in 2002-03, in recurrent terms, this government spent on the Vardon report an additional $1,545,000 and then in the year 2003-04, before we got the Vardon report and were implementing the Vardon recommendations, they spent $9,465,000 on implementing a report they had not received. If the government is going to take credit and explain away their spending by saying they were expending it on Vardon, then the minister must have known. If the minister must have known, then she should come in and correct the record; otherwise she has been misleading the house.

The problem is there. Perhaps the minister will jump up and explain to us how she was able to spend almost $11 million on implementing the recommendations of the Vardon report before the Vardon report even appeared. It was not just over one year. I am sure it will be: “Oh, when we found out in January we did some urgent stuff on which we knew the commissioner was going to report.” It has been done over two financial years, 2002-03 and 2003-04. The ministers cannot have it both ways.

MR QUINLAN (Molonglo—Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development and Business, Minister for Tourism, Minister for Sport and Recreation, and Minister for Racing and Gaming) (5.34): It is mind-boggling listening to Mr Smyth trying to build straw men out of the fact that yes, we did start spending a bit of money on the matters that Vardon was looking at. It was a recognised problem, a problem that, in fact, predated this government. Somehow the Liberals seem to have put their hands over their ears and said, “La, la, la, la, la,” long enough so that nothing happened before. There was no problem with child protection until, all of a sudden, it is discovered.

What Gallop identified, what Vardon identified and what was identified in child protection were problems that predated this government, the current government. I do like the Mulcahy approach. He is quite free to criticise matters that predate his term in this place and therefore, Mr Smyth, things that you were involved in. I have got a great list, Mr Mulcahy, of a lot of ones you probably missed that were stuff-ups. You were concerned about the Williamsdale quarry and do not want to know that the whole thing was set up by your lot and we are stuck with the commercial realities.

Mr Seselja: You want to hide it.

MR QUINLAN: I would be happy for the whole world to know every last element of that.

Mr Seselja: Give it out then.

MR QUINLAN: I can’t. There is an agreement between the parties to the purchase and sale of the damned thing that is commercial-in-confidence; it is between them. Unfortunately, I can’t, but I would love to. Mate, we do have a great list here for you. Mr Mulcahy, if you want to come and see me some time I can give it to you. CanDeliver, we wrote off a couple of million dollars. Put that down to us. It was a total mess—and your mess—but we wrote it off. We are stuck with the Fujitsu deal, FAI, TransACT, as we discussed earlier today, even down to sports bookmaking. You had a minister who knew there was a problem with sports bookmaking and for three years did nothing. We had to fix it.

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