Territory Stories

Debates Day 3 - Thursday 1 May 2003



Debates Day 3 - Thursday 1 May 2003

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Parliamentary Record 11


Debates for 9th Assembly 2001 - 2005; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 9th Assembly 2001 - 2005




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 - Thursday 1 May 2003 report. In just 12 months, that amount reduced by $170m to $ 122.6m. These are amazing figures. They are startling, very worrying figures, particularly when the Treasurer comes to report to parliament on the Auditor-Generals report on his activities and the expenditure of government, and this amazing amounts o f $0.5bn does not even rate a reference or even the slightest mention by the Treasurer. This is just extraordinary stuff. I mention just a few of these, and also the fact that I spoke briefly to the Auditor-General this morning. I do that in the context o f this report being tabled here in Alice Springs on Tuesday and it being brought on for debate today ... Mr Stirling: Yes, exactly what you used to do. Yes, check your records. Mr REED: The government wants to get this off the paper today. They want it fully debated because the government is embarrassed by it. They are embarrassed by a qualified report and they want it out of the way as quickly as possible. The Treasurer did not even have the good grace to stand up and make reference to just three items that I have mentioned: $170m in cash that he has spent; $169m that he has received from the Commonwealth; and an increase of $280m in debt, not to mention many other matters. It is for that reason and the depth o f investigation that one should rightly have the opportunity to undertake in relation this particular report of the Auditor-General, that I would like to sit down with the Auditor-General and talk to him about some matters, and receive some further advice from him. That, I do not believe, is an unreasonable request. It might not have been as necessary, if the Treasurer had tonight in his presentation given a full and detailed explanation of these issues pertaining to many hundreds o f million dollars of - not the Treasurers money, not the Chief Ministers money, not our money as a collective parliament - but the money of the people o f the Northern Territory. That is what we are talking about here today. We have heard lots o f waxing lyrical of black holes and all sorts of shock horror stories. Well, that pales into significance in relation to this. They talked about black holes of $8m, $9m. In one hit here, we have $ 17.7m that was not even reported and is the subject of a qualification of the financial report by the Auditor-General. If the Treasurer was a director o f a company, he would be on the carpet; he would be in very difficult trouble. In addition to th a t... Mr Stirling: How come you were not in trouble in 1999-2000? Mr REED: Because the problems to which you alluded on that occasion were false. They were political nonsense regarding the attitude that you adopted in relation to them. In that regard, we have here today a statement from the Auditor-General that says you have fudged the figures $ 17.7m. In relation to th a t... Mr Stirling: Not true! Mr REED: Well, if it is not true, you better go and explain it and get a briefing from the Auditor-General also, as I would like to. I want the opportunity to go and speak to the Auditor-General. It is only fair, on behalf of Territorians that, as shadow Treasurer, I have the opportunity on behalf of Territorians to fully scrutinise this before this debate comes to an end. In addition... Ms Martin: You could have rung him. Mr REED: Well, I did ring him - the inteijection from the Chief Minister. You should have been here, Chief Minister, listening to the appalling contribution made by your Treasurer, and his failure to hit the ... Dr BURNS: A point of order, Madam Speaker! Mr Burke: Surely not appalling? Dont tell me appalling is unparliamentary. Dr BURNS: The member for Katherine is reflecting on the presence or absence o f a member of the Assembly. Madam SPEAKER: I am afraid I did not catch it. Member for Katherine, I presume we are talking about a member inside this Chamber, are we? Mr REED: I made reference to the Chief Minister. If they are so sensitive ... Madam SPEAKER: Well, it is all part o f the debate. Mr REED: Clearly, they are very sensitive in relation to this issue. However, the nub o f the question that I am getting to is that I want to now seek leave to continue my remarks at a later date - after I have had the opportunity to talk to the Auditor-General, and have had the opportunity, together with other members o f the opposition, to be able to be fully scrutinising this particular report, and to be able to do so and fulfil our parliamentary 3988