Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 2 July 2008) . . Page.. 2617 ..
It is instructive to look at the approach of the different agencies in relation to FOI and to look at what has been released. Everything that we got from LDA and ACTPLA pointed to the Chief Minister’s Department and to the Chief Minister; they pointed to our case; they built the case that this government had steered the proponents in a particular direction, that they had pushed them away from certain sites which they deemed to be too valuable; and in the end that they had contributed to the situation directly where a totally inappropriate site was chosen for this proposal. There is no doubt about that.
What then transpired was that the government were extraordinarily embarrassed by this. They were extraordinarily embarrassed by their role and they sought to distance themselves from it.
The only way for all the facts to be on the table and for us to have a proper debate, with all of the facts, is for the Chief Minister to do the right thing and release these documents. We asked him just yesterday in this place in relation to a specific document or specific advice that he had received. I am sure that if that specific advice backed up what the Chief Minister was saying he would have tabled it. He would have answered that question and he would have tabled it. But he chose not to. He has chosen to suppress document after document after document because he is embarrassed, and this government are embarrassed, at how poorly they have handled this process.
From day one this government has stuffed this process up. There is no doubt about that. No-one outside the Labor Party—and in fact, off the record, even within the Labor Party—in the ACT believes that this process has been well handled and believes that this is anything other than a major stuff-up by this government. The classic response, it would seem, and the response of this government when they stuff things up, is to hide and to suppress. We had this comment that is instructive, in terms of the debate today, from the Chief Minister on 16 June:
Any suggestion that I … have something to hide … is counter-intuitive, without foundation and profoundly offensive.
Chief Minister and Ms Gallagher, if you did not have anything to hide, why would you not release these documents? Why have so many documents been suppressed? And why does the Chief Minister, who does have the ability to release these documents, to put them out into the public arena, continue to suppress them? He continues to hide them. He can choose today to release them but he has chosen not to.
We can only draw conclusions from that. We draw conclusions from the Chief Minister’s behaviour and we draw conclusions from those documents that have been provided to us, which all point in one direction: that this government stuffed up this process. It also points to the fact that Ms Gallagher’s statement in the Canberra Times was incorrect. It is profoundly wrong and has been proved to be the case today. (Time expired.)
MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (4.17): This afternoon, the opposition seek to again litigate the myth about