Page 2624 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 2 July 2008

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refusing to do so, and by refusing to do so it is saying to the community: “We don’t need to respond to you. We don’t need to be open and accountable in our handling of this matter. We will continue to ignore your concerns and ignore your very real concerns about this process.”

It must be said that every time a document is released it seems to put the government in a worse light. Every time a document actually makes it into the public arena it undermines the government’s case and it highlights how poorly this government has handled this process from the start. We understand its motivation in seeking to suppress these documents. That motivation is one of embarrassment; it is one of severe embarrassment and of seeking to cover the government’s tracks in its handling of this process.

But the very clear message to the community is that the government do not need to be accountable; that they can suppress documents, relevant documents, thousands of relevant documents, which they have decided it is not in the public interest to be seen. But of course the Chief Minister undermined that argument when he chose to selectively release some of those documents to the media. By choosing to selectively release them, he completely undermines his claim and the government’s claim, through the FOI process, that it is not in the public interest to do so or it is within the scope of one or other of the exemptions and it is important that these documents not be released.

The Chief Minister, through his actions, has undermined what was done through the FOI process. He has undermined what was said there and by doing that it absolutely begs the question: why not release them all? Why not release these other documents? We know the answer. The answer is that the documents do not back up the government’s claims. They do not back up the government’s claims that this process was well handled and Ms Gallagher’s claims today that the opposition will not be able to prove that the government took decisions around this project, specifically about where it was, because that is just not the case.

We know that when documents are released they prove exactly what Ms Gallagher said could not be proved, and we know that if more documents were released, if all the documents were released, we would get to the bottom of it; we would see that the case that we have been making, and which is pointed to very clearly in a number of the documents that have been released, would absolutely be confirmed, and that is that this government mishandled this process; this government chose, for reasons which are clear—profit, in particular—to push the proponents in a particular direction. And that direction the government pushed them in was Tuggeranong; there is no doubt about that.

We have no doubt that any documents that they release would back up our claim. In fact, if they would not back up our claim, I am sure the Chief Minister would have tabled them. He would have tabled them by now; we would have seen them released, because he was prepared to release selective documents to the media which in fact did not prove his case, but they were the best that he could come up with. So release the rest of the documents. That is why this motion should be allowed to proceed, so the government can be forced to put all the documents on the table and so the community can get the answers that it deserves.

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