Questions Day 2 - Wednesday 29 November 2000
Parliamentary Record 26
Questions for 8th Assembly 1997 - 2001; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 8th Assembly 1997 - 2001
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
QUESTIONS - Wednesday 29 November 2000 I will give a quick piece of advice to Territorians who want to reduce their power costs. If they hear the Leader of the Opposition speaking on the radio, tum it off. Purchase of Darwin to Katherine Transmission Line Mr STIRLING to TREASURER The second issue that the Treasurer did not explain to parliament yesterday relates to the excessive secrecy surrounding this deal. The Treasurer promised an open and full account of the deal to this House, yet proceeded to quote an explicit confidentiality clause designed to stop Territorians ever finding out the details of this deal for his mate. How do you justify promising a full account to Territorians when you knew in advance that you intended to hide behind a 12-year-old secrecy clause? Treasurer, why is it we can find out federal government defence secrets after 25 years, but Territorians will never ever find out CLP secrets, particularly the details of this SlOOm power scam? ANSWER Mr Speaker. I thank the honourable member for the opportunity to explain this to Territorians while Question Time is being broadcast. He has a privileged position and he had a priceless offer of a full and detailed briefing, as did the Leader of the Opposition. They have privileged positions in this House which they are supposed to fill on behalf of their constituents and Territorians. They refused to take up their responsibilities. Mr Stirling: If you can break confidentiality for me, you can tell all Territorians. Mr SPEAKER: Order! Mr REED: They put down that privileged position. They did not pursue their responsibilities. They did not take a full briefing because they did not want to know the facts. Had they taken that opportunity, they would have been able to tell Territorians what the facts are. People listening will be able to understand why they did not want to know the facts, why they did not want a briefing, because they are inteijecting. This is all about politics... Members inteijecting. Mr SPEAKER: Order! The minister will please resume his seat. There is just far too much inteijection on the opposition benches at the present time, particularly from the member for Nhulunbuy but other members as well. You are treading on very shaky ground. It is not a warning yet, but it is coming. Mr REED: It is all about deceitfulness and trying to scare Territorians into believing that something evil has happened when in fact... Ms Martin: You are deceitful. You promised an open account. Mr REED: Mr Speaker, do they take any notice of you at all? Mr SPEAKER: Very little, it seems, very little. I have asked you to refrain from so much inteijection. I do not mind short, sharp interjection if it is to the point, if it is reasonable, but when it goes on and on it is just too much. Mr REED: Having abrogated their responsibilities to Territorians, not pursued their privileged position as members of parliament and found out what the facts were and got a full and detailed briefing, they continue to muckrake. And that is where they are today. They are still in the gutter. They are not pursuing the issues. The broadcast on ABC Radio this morning clearly illustrated that the 24-page statement was considered by some commentators to be a comprehensive one. It provided an enormous amount of detail. To get to the particular issue, page 22 of the statement clearly demonstrates why the agreement was a confidential one. I shall, just for the benefit of those listening, explain that on an almost daily basis government does business with the business sector. The Leader of the Opposition smirks and inteijects. She doesnt want to hear the facts. They asked the question but do not want to know the answer. The government on a daily basis does business with the private sector. If an agreement is put in place, after a public process - as was the case in calling for expressions of interest to construct this line - the company that builds it, which is still operating here in the Northern Territory as a company, does not want the financial analysis of its operational processes within its company exposed to its competitors. The electricity industry has been opened up for more competition. In terms of how the line was costed, how it operates, in terms of their commerciality, I can understand why they would want those arrangements to remain commercial-in- confidence to the company. Think for a moment what would happen if they were disclosed, in terms of the government dealing 1251
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