Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 25 June 2008) . . Page.. 1919 ..
MS GALLAGHER: Not one piece of evidence has been tabled that supports any of the four sections of this motion. That was your challenge in your week off, and you have not done it.
MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (3.06): I am glad to see the government has eventually brought out the big guns. I am terrified by that!
It is clear that this Chief Minister should no longer enjoy the confidence of this place because he has misled the estimates committee and, as a consequence, this Assembly about his personal involvement and his department’s involvement in the process of site selection for the Tuggeranong power plant and data centre. The proponents were steered away from their preferred site in Hume towards cheaper land, closer to Tuggeranong residents.
He also tried to keep the public, the people he was elected to represent, in the dark about his role which ensured that ActewAGL and its partners had no choice about the siting of the gas-fired power station and data centre. He has flagrantly disregarded the potential to injure the nearby residents of Tuggeranong by the inappropriate siting of a 210-megawatt power station.
Let us start with the Chief Minister’s misleading of the estimates committee. As the deputy chair of the estimates committee, I know more than I care about the Chief Minister’s conduct during that inquiry. Firstly, the Chief Minister breached his own code of conduct and all the conventions of the Westminster system when he sat mute while his officials gave misleading evidence to the committee; he was there and he heard it.
Officials of the Chief Minister’s Department on 26 and 27 May this year consistently told the committee that they were not involved in site selection for the Tuggeranong development; yet documents provided under the Freedom of Information Act by the LDA reveal that this is not the case. The Chief Minister sat mute while the acting chief executive of the Land Development Agency was bullied and ashamed into changing his evidence. It was clear on the day that the acting chief executive of the LDA changed his testimony and he did so under duress.
It is reprehensible that pressure was brought to bear on him in such a way and it is doubly reprehensible that the Chief Minister sat there and allowed this to happen. In allowing his officials to mislead the committee, the Chief Minister closed down a line of questioning and helped to distract attention from his close involvement in the site selection process. Throughout the estimates process, we saw and experienced a chief minister who was prepared to twist and selectively quote, to pressure and bully and to give a false impression of his involvement in the site selection.
The Leader and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition have highlighted the Chief Minister’s misleading and contradictory testimony, to the extent that, within a short period of time on one day, he held no fewer than four competing views—enough even to boggle the Chief Minister’s mind. On top of that, after holding four contradictory views in the course of one day, he then, at the end of that day, provided in writing an answer to a question on notice in relation to the MacArthur power station that