Page 1966 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 25 June 2008
that documentary evidence. We see it in relation to involvement in the site selection, we see it in relation to taking into account the value of the land, and we see it in relation to whether or not the site in Hume was ever ruled out. That is clearly demonstrated in the documentation that we have put.
We heard Ms Gallagher going through the documents but not really going through them. We saw her referring to the documents and saying, “Here’s a document that shows that the officials were doing their job.” That is all it shows, apparently—the officials doing their job. I do not doubt that in the vast majority of cases the documents do show officials doing their jobs. I have got no doubt about that at all. But they also show a contradiction—a clear contradiction—between what we have been told and what the public has been told about the government’s role in this process and what actually happened. I do not think there would be any reason for all those documents to be wrong.
I do not think that it is credible to suggest that the “yeah but” defence holds here. Yes, they all point to the fact that the sites were ruled out, that the government did take into account the valuations, and that they did push them to the Tuggeranong site—yeah, but that is not what they meant. We are told that they did not really mean that.
What is actually written in these reams of documents—which all point in one direction—are not actually the facts of the matter. Dr Foskey made the point very well: all this evidence is pointing one way and you would think that, if it was not true, there would be a raft of documents for a process like this that the government could point to that would specifically back their claims. In the seven days since I gave notice of this motion, they had the opportunity to make that case, to provide those documents. They have not been able to. What they have come back with is the “yeah but” defence: “That is not what we meant.”
We do not buy it; the community does not buy it. The documentary evidence is very clear. We were misled. We were misled in the committee on numerous occasions by the Chief Minister. We know that this process has been poorly handled. There is no-one outside the Labor Party at the moment who maintains that this has been a well-handled process—that if they had their time again they would not have done it differently. There is no doubt about that.
We saw the discussion around freedom of information and the use of freedom of information. We had Ms Gallagher, and Mr Corbell in particular, prosecuting the case that we are misunderstanding how it works. What we are actually saying is very simple, and I will make it very simple for them. There is a freedom of information process where we are told by government agencies that we cannot have certain documents for particular reasons—whether it is not in the public interest or because of any of the other exemptions—yet we have a Chief Minister who grabbed some of those same documents and released them selectively.
What we are saying is that he does have the ability, clearly, to release those documents, and he has not: he has only released a select few, to a select number of people. He has not released all of the documents and put all of the documents on the table. Our point there absolutely stands: it is a fundamental misunderstanding or it is a deliberate attempt to muddy the waters to put any other position. That is absolutely clear. In fact, it is a point that was noted by my crossbench colleagues.