Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 06 Hansard (Thursday, 23 June 2011) . . Page.. 2434 ..
Act. I have to tell you that I have two FOIs in, Chief Minister. If you want openness and accountability, you can go and get me my FOIs today. I have been waiting for them for months. I have got an FOI in with Chief Minister’s and I have got an FOI in with the emergency services authority. What was the government’s initial response? “Here is a bill for 3,000 bucks.” There is openness and accountability for you—a member of the Assembly has to start paying for information that should be made available in the public interest.
One of the issues was some of the work that was done at the headquarters of the ESA at Fairbairn, and there is a lot of public interest in that. I do not know how you can say that it is not in the public interest to release those documents, but that is the standard fall-back line of this government. I hope the Chief Minister is listening. If she is fair dinkum about what she is doing, she can go and get my two FOIs, get them cleared and get them to my office as quickly as possible. They have been there for months and months.
The other thing that the Chief Minister will fix if she is really genuine is this. Again, it was Labor’s commitment No 16: “In government, Labor will restrict the use of commercial confidentiality in government contracts.” So we will get rid of the commercial-in-confidence. But go straight to the Enlighten report, Chief Minister. If you are serious about this, go and read the Enlighten report, if you have not read it. There is nothing commercial-in-confidence in there. There is no personal information; there are no lists of vendors or users; there are no secret formulas for the coating on chicken or a soft drink; there is no commercial process in it; there is no industrial process in it. There is absolutely nothing commercial-in-confidence in the Enlighten report. If you are serious, again, bring it and table it. You could have it here this afternoon. We will give you leave to table it this afternoon. If you are serious, make a good start. Make a sign of good faith. Go and table the things that you, as a cabinet minister, have helped restrict. Live up to the promises of 2001.
If you really want to make a new start in 2011 and do not want to just be the shadow that Jon Stanhope was, you have got a real opportunity here. But it is up to you to prove it. It is up to you to show that you are up to it by making decisions that back up what you say. Words are cheap. I have heard just about everything you have said in one form or another, shy of the technological changes that are in this document.
Let me move to perhaps the last bit: “complete the renewal of our community engagement manual”. Community engagement has been overhauled several times since the Labor Party has been in office, but it is never adhered to. There are time frames and guidelines and all sorts of things set out for discussion, but we always find extenuating circumstances, such as “this is a quick decision”. For Calvary I think there was a six-week consultation period when the guidelines said you need a minimum of 12 weeks on a major issue. If the sale of Calvary was not a major issue, I do not know what is. But the government does not adhere to its guideline. There is always a back door, a bolthole or a get out of jail free card.
That is the problem with believing anything that is in this document. If we are going to do it, let us make sure we do it properly and let us make sure that it does occur.