Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 17 February 1999



Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 17 February 1999

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Parliamentary Record 14


Debates for 8th Assembly 1997 - 2001; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 8th Assembly 1997 - 2001




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 17 February 1999 of the CLP party wing, as secretary of the party ... Mr Stone: I wasnt the secretary of the party. Mr BAILEY: Sorry, you were the president of the party. It was the president of the party who was initially involved in the establishment of Mark Textor and this shonky practice of diverting ... Mr Stone: And I am proud of it. Mr BAILEY: And hes proud of it. He interjects that he is proud of stealing taxpayers money to fund party polling. Quite clearly the documents tabled in this Chamber and debated at length last sitting showed that the government set up a procedure in collusion with polling organisations to produce 2 sets of results - 2 reports at the end of the day. The one that went on the official government file so that if the Auditor-General asked what the consultants had done and what $35 000 was spent on, there was the report, there were the polling results. Yes, as the new Chief Minister now says, that sort of polling is appropriate for governments to do but the Auditor-General didnt see the other report, the much thicker report, which included all the information provided to government plus the political questions - the issues to do with voter intent; the selection, specifically, of swinging voters in key marginal seats to get the issues that would help them win elections. This was theft by the CLP of taxpayers assets for their own private benefit. They didnt need the money. Their party has been getting donations left, right and centre for many years, but they were happy to steal from the government for their own political aims. The Chief Minister has confirmed that today. He says it is not right to ask voter intention funded by the taxpayer. What he has done now is said that, by my little admission, we did a little bit wrong and that it was Andrew Coward who did it all - somehow or other sweeps it all away. It wasnt that long ago, in fact, that the push-polling occurred and I know that when the question was asked of the member for Blain if he knew, was he involved in push polling, he, at least, has the political nous to know that you dont lie in parliament and deny it. He refused to answer that question. He refused to say he was not involved in the groups that met and made the decision that DDB Needham, the advertising company for the 1994 election, would fund Chilla Porters organisation in Western Australia for carrying out the push-polling. If you say there is no evidence that the push-polling ever occurred, I quote from the Perth Sunday Times, 28 January 1996: Party powerbroker, Chilla Porter, has admitted that his telemarketing company carried out what has been called push-polling against Labor candidates in the lead-up to the 1994 Territory election. The man who did it has admitted he did it. Although publicly you have all said that it never occurred, the man who did it has stood up. When we wrote to the Australian Electoral Commission, basically their response to this was, and the CLP has been very clever about this: The fact that an organisation disclosed on a return may have subcontracted a further firm to do work for it would, as already explained, not constitute a breach o f federal disclosure provisions. So, quite clearly, all you have to do is move it one group over, get your advertising company to do it and youre not breaking the law. So in other words, there is no way of tracking down the admittance. Ill challenge again the member for Blain and the member for Port Darwin to get up here and say that they had no knowledge or involvement in the organisation of a phone campaign that occurred on the Thursday night before the 1994 election. Now if they can get up here and state that categorically, Id be fascinated to hear it. Because in the past the member for Blain has refused to make that statement. And it is interesting to note that Andrew Coward has said that the member for Blain was one of the people involved in that decision-making as part of the election campaign group that was involved in making those sort of decisions, as was the member for Port Darwin. So it would be interesting to see if hes now prepared to answer that question after this time. Mr Speaker, polling was a despicable activity. It was one that stopped some of my Labor candidates at the time from winning their seats possibly and also it lead to the downfall of Ken Parish, the former member for Millner. I do remember in a conversation with the now member for Millner his genuine - I thought at the time - anger at what happened in the Millner seat in regard to the phone calls that were occurring on the Thursday night. He said to me that he did try to find out and was denied any knowledge of it. Now I accept his story that he was not involved. I d be fascinated to see though if the member for Blain and member for Port Darwin will go on the record and say they had no knowledge of what happened. 2796