Page 3437 - Week 09 - Thursday, 21 August 2008
some comments about that and, as the other member of the committee who was there throughout the entire process of the Rhodium report, I think it is important that I place my thanks on the record as well. I also thank Mr Mulcahy for his efforts while on the committee because he was very interested in and focused a lot on this report. I know he took a great interest in the Auditor-General’s report and worked very hard on this matter. Many of the questions at the hearings came from Mr Mulcahy. I particularly thank Hamish Finlay because this was not an easy report to pull together; it was all over the place. A lot of information was gathered together and a number of hearings had been held by the time Hamish Finlay came on board.
On the whole, I believe Dr Foskey talked about the report in a balanced way and gave the general picture of the report. I agree with a lot of what she had to say about the report, but I do have to say that I disagree with her comment that the shareholders are condemned by this report. I will come to Mr Smyth in a moment. Mr Smyth went on for 15 minutes about one particular part of the report. Anybody would think from Mr Smyth’s speech that there was only one chapter. In fact, there were only half a dozen paragraphs in this report condemning the shareholders. The report looks at the entire management of Rhodium and the entire sorry process that occurred.
I think we should acknowledge in this place the behaviour of the shareholders. Even if they had a disagreement about the direction of Rhodium it is absolutely no excuse for the inappropriate behaviour of the previous CEO and the previous management of Rhodium. It is all very well and good to say that Rhodium lacked direction and therefore as the CEO, “Rhodium lacks direction” or, as a manager of Rhodium, “There is a little bit of confusion here. I know, I’ll go and use my credit card to buy a pair of shoes”—that is effectively what happened—or “I know, I’ll go overseas and I’ll then get management to go and give me a $10,000 advance, which I will conveniently say that I thought came from my own home loan and a drawdown, but I didn’t notice that $10,000 hadn’t been added to my home loan.” That is what the former CEO said.
It is incredibly unfortunate, I believe, that the board at the time took their eyes off the ball. The report states—and I cannot remember the exact number of the paragraph—that, given Rhodium’s history, the chequered history of Totalcare, it was unfortunate that the board had not paid more attention. To suggest that the shareholders are responsible for the absolutely disgraceful mismanagement by the previous CEO and the previous managers underneath her is ridiculous. We cannot expect that the shareholders would micromanage every territory-owned corporation and every agency that exists in the ACT. That would be ridiculous. Mr Speaker, I have an expectation, you should have an expectation and the people of the ACT should have an expectation that the board and management will behave in an appropriate fashion and certainly not behave in the way that the former management behaved.
I also want to talk about Mr Smyth’s comments. He says this is a damning report of the shareholders. That is just rubbish, absolute rubbish. There are a few paragraphs in this report—
Mrs Dunne: “There are some” is enough.
MR SPEAKER: Order! Members of the opposition, come to order.