Page 3449 - Week 09 - Thursday, 21 August 2008

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Political advertising

MR MULCAHY: My question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, last month your federal counterparts introduced tough new guidelines for taxpayer-funded advertising by the government. These new guidelines included mandatory reporting every six months on political advertising and giving the Auditor-General the power to review campaigns above a set threshold. Chief Minister, will you adopt the same guidelines as your federal counterparts?

MR STANHOPE: I thank Mr Mulcahy for the question, and it is a proposal that is worthy of serious consideration in the context and the culture that applied under the previous Liberal government. What was the final sum that Howard and Costello totted up?

Mr Barr: I think it was nearly the entire ACT budget that was spent—$3 billion.

MR STANHOPE: By the end of the day, it was almost the entire budget, Mr Barr interjects. I do know, or seem to recall, that one campaign alone actually came in at $300 million. That was one of the advertising campaigns run by Howard and Costello in the last desperate throes of that government. They actually racked up a cost to the taxpayer in the order of $300 million. That was just one, single campaign. Of course, in the context of that behaviour by the previous Liberal government, I think it is unsurprising that provisions have been put in place by the current Labor federal government.

That sort of reckless behaviour, that sort of reckless expenditure of taxpayers funds, has not and has never been a feature of ACT governments. It is important that any government, including this government, informs and keeps the community involved in relation to activities and policies and projects, and we do that. Having said that, Mr Mulcahy, I have no real issue, as a matter of principle, to the proposal, and would be happy to seriously consider it.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Mulcahy.

MR MULCAHY: I thank the Chief Minister for his answer. Chief Minister, can you advise the Assembly how much taxpayer money your government will spend on government advertising between now and 18 October?

MR STANHOPE: I would have no difficulty doing that. I am not aware of any significant advertising that the government has in train or proposes or intends between now and 18 October, but I am more than happy to pursue the issue, Mr Mulcahy.

Rhodium Asset Solutions Ltd

MR SMYTH: My question is to the Deputy Chief Minister. Deputy Chief Minister, you are one of the two shareholders in Rhodium Asset Solutions Ltd. Are you aware of your powers under section 17A of the Territory-owned Corporations Act 1990?


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