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 the information that went to government, plus the extra party political opinion voter research, and simply paid just $3700 for it. Now, that is a joke, and the former Chief Minister has made no attempt, as I said, to prove that the Country Liberal Party in fact paid even as much as one red cent. If he could, he would have produced the receipt and said: There it is. The so-called fraudulent document that we allegedly produced, also is fraudulent on the words of the former Chief Minister, who is central to all of these allegations in the first place, and on the word of one Mark Textor - a self-confessed liar, in the Canberra by-election, who wrote a cheque, dragged his cheque from his back pocket, wrote a cheque and an apology to Ms Sue Robinson, the Labor candidate, rather than put his case in court. He had his day in court. He could have put his case there and said: No, innocent, did not do it. He wrote the cheque so he did not have to stand in the box in court and have the whole sorry story of how much of a liar he is produced for the court record. Very quick to get the cheque book out and the apology then. So, how do we know, on the words of the former Chief Minister, that its a fraudulent document? I dont take his word for it, and I certainly dont take the word of a self-confessed liar, a man who reaches for his cheque book in order to avoid his day in court. He knows he lied, he confessed to it along with Andrew Robb and along with the Liberal Party. I want to turn to the new Chief Ministers comments in relation to this matter. He says, in relation to documentation we provided this morning, that for the most part it was genuine government research: national parks, alcohol levy, railway, tax packages, just absolutely agreed with him. Thats why we provided him with a copy of the sanitised document to show that this is what we believe also is genuine government polling to be paid for by the taxpayer. It was the other 2 documents - and he says himself that its disturbing, and its inappropriate for government to pay for polling on opinion voter research about Warren Snowdon and Arthur Palmer. He said it should be a federal role. He didnt say altogether that that shouldnt occur. It should be a party political role. However, he admits that its inappropriate. He didnt address the second part of the documentation that we produced also this morning and that is the party political research and voter intention on the Northern Territory, where it clearly had whos voting CLP and whos voting Labor party, whos voting other. Now, the Chief Minister did say that if this type of behaviour was to occur after February 1999 he would want to know about it. He would want to know about. But this all happened 3 chief ministers ago, 7-10 years ago - Im not looking back, Im going forward. As Attorney-General as well as Chief Minister, he should well know, because hes admitting that it was wrong, but he cannot do anything about it because it was too long ago. I wonder, has he told the Northern Territory police to close all the files of crime, unsolved murders, unsolved rapes, unsolved robberies that occurred before 1992, because that is the basis of this argument? His defence is flawed and his attempt to shift the entire blame on to Andrew Coward is just too cute indeed. Does he think that Andrew Coward was operating in a vacuum all on his own? Mr Coulter: Yes. Mr Burke inteijecting. Mr STIRLING: Nonsense! He was working for the Chief Minister of the day - and Ill tell you what else, he was working closely in day-to-day contact with one Mark Textor, the little boy youre so proud of along with the former Chief Minister, the man that everybody is so proud of, the self-confessed liar. Now why do the former Chief Minister and the present Chief Minister both claim to be so proud of Textor on the one hand and so vehemently dump on one Andrew Coward on the other, while the 2 were working so closely together, day in day out? The new Chief Minister claimed in his very first speech as Chief Minister yesterday in this parliament to stand for honest, open and accountable government. In just 24 hours he is shot down; absolutely destroyed an opportunity to prove that he is genuine in his stance. Hes been given an opportunity to have these claims of corrupt behaviour investigated. Clear the books, distance himself from the dirty past of the Country Liberal Party. Indeed, if it is all the former Chief Ministers fault, so what, hes yesterdays man. Hes out of here soon. It aint going to hurt you. Its going to do you a lot of good. And if its all Andrew Cowards fault, as you say, and he was acting in a vacuum all on his own, its also going to do you a lot of good. You have nothing to lose if youre right. The problem you have, Chief Minister, is you know that all the party political operatives who are still operating here on the 5th floor were involved in this up to their necks, and that would be revealed by any investigation, along with some of your Cabinet colleagues. The Chief Ministers failure to support this motion today leaves the Country Liberal Party steeped in a stench so strong that it carries from Darwin to Canberra. We wont let Territorians forget that the very first opportunity that this new 2802