Page 4227 - Week 14 - Tuesday, 26 November 2013
I sought an assurance from the Treasurer that there were no further documents. That is an assurance that the Treasurer gave me, and it is an assurance which he has reiterated here in the Assembly this afternoon. As such, I will not be supporting the motion today, as I do not believe that the threshold that there is a case to answer has been met.
MR HANSON (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (4.35): I thank Mr Smyth for bringing this before the Assembly today. It is an important matter because it is important that ministers, and indeed all of us, comply with standing orders. And that is the question before us: has the minister adhered to standing order 213A and the subsequent standing orders if he has breached that standing order? The case is laid out very well by Mr Smyth in the letter that he provided to you, Madam Speaker, and in the case he has made in the chamber debate. I do not intend to reiterate the full argument, but the threshold question is: has the minister complied? The compelling case has been made—in my view it is a black and white case—that he has not. He has disobeyed a lawful order of this Assembly, and the question is one of motive. Why has he failed to comply to provide the documents that formed the analysis, the work that led to the tax reform?
As the minister and Mr Rattenbury have said, what we have been delivered is a summary, an overview. It is not what we asked for. It is quite clear the intent of the Assembly was to be provided with the full range of documents, and the minister has not complied with that. There should be a substantive volume of documents. If the minister did not want to release them and he wanted to go through a process of review and claiming executive privilege and, under the standing order, having those documents that would be in dispute subject to arbitration, he could have done that. But he has knowingly just ignored that process. He has decided, “Rather than risk those documents being provided after arbitration, I’m going to come up with some neat little summary of what I want it to show and then I’ll provide that to the Assembly. And that certainly will provide enough to satisfy Shane Rattenbury.” And that would appear to be the case.
Mr Rattenbury, the great reformer, only yesterday wanted openness and accountability. Shine the light. “Here are my new FOI rules. Let’s make sure we push information. Let’s make sure there’s access to everything. If it’s in the public interest then we should have access to it.” But when it comes to these documents—the analysis that was conducted by this government in what Mr Barr touts as the greatest tax reform in the history of the ACT—somehow the rhetoric of yesterday has turned to water when Mr Rattenbury decides that somehow, no, a simple overview will suffice. That is despite the fact that the Assembly has directed that we receive these documents.
Mr Barr: No, it didn’t.
MR HANSON: It quite clearly says under 213A that we get these documents, and you have decided—
Mr Barr: No. What was the motion that was passed?