Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 23 April 1997



Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 23 April 1997

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Parliamentary Record 32


Debates for 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Wednesday 23 April 1997 (a) censures in the strongest possible terms the Chief Minister for (i) breach o f statutory obligations placed on him as Minister fo r Education during the 1991-92 financial year by the Financial Administration and Audit Act; and (ii) breach o f trust; (b) further condemns him for his failure to adequately disclose these activities under the control o f his administration; and (c) expresses concern that the facts and circumstances o f these breaches are prima facie evidence o f official corruption. Since March last year, we have seen this government try, in a number of ways, to ensure that the people of the Northern Territory do not know the truth about the way it deals with taxpayers funds. I will give a little background information on this issue. In March last year, when the Public Accounts Committee was reviewing previous reports from the Auditor-General, the issue of the International Project Management Unit was raised through comments made by the Auditor-General in relation to its accounting procedures and its corporate plan. The Public Accounts Committee requested that officers from the International Project Management Unit come before it to explain all of the projects they had been involved with. When they came before the committee in a public hearing in this Chamber, a question was asked of them about references to IPMU being in a consortium with a number of Darwin film makers and in relation to a grant from the Department of Industries and Development of $82 000 to IPMU in partnership with the North Australian Film Corporation. I asked why this relationship with the North Australian Film Corporation was not included in any of the evidence that they had presented to the committee. It was strange that this one deal was not included in their evidence when we asked them to provide the full details. The officers replied that it was because of the way in which they had been asked for the information. They thought that the committee wanted to know about projects that they had managed and that it did not really want information on projects in respect of which money was given to Mrs Dondass company. They said they did not think it wanted that information and therefore they omitted that project. They said they had not included an aside, indicating that that project was different from the others. As the Chief Minister said, this was one of a number of projects similar to what IPMU had done. If it was so similar, why was it the only one that was not included in briefing documents presented to the Public Accounts Committee? The officers went on to say that they did not know enough about it at that time and were unable therefore to answer questions about it. They said that they would have to get back to the committee. The then chairman, the member for Jingili, said that the committee would get back to the officers and take further details on this matter. I was critical at the time of the member for Jingili and the snails pace at which he was investigating this issue. Correspondence went backwards and forwards between the Public Accounts Committee, IPMU, DARTI and the Department of Education. There were situations of the kind that I described in my dissenting report where, having started in March, by September the committee had still obtained very little from the department, and I was 11374