Parliamentary record : Part I debates (27 February 1985)
Debates for 4th Assembly 1983 - 1987; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 4th Assembly 1983 - 1987
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Northern Territory Legislative Assembly
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Wednesday 27 February 1985 the unfortunate result of factors far outside the control of the government. This is certainly the argument being put forward in the document released today. If this Assembly accepts that argument, it only brings us back to the central issue of this censure motion. These loans and these gifts were all made prior to 28 November 1984. They were made after the Chief Minister was elevated to the position. They were the decision of the Chief Minister yet he felt justified on 28 November in denying that funds were diverted from the budget. This leaves the Chief Minister with one simple question to answer: why on 28 November did he deny the diversion of government funds? The answer is obvious. The Chief Minister deserves the strongest possible censure of this Assembly. Mr DONDAS (Deputy Chief Minister): Mr Speaker, in speaking to this censure motion, there is quite a lot that one could say. Time will be the defeating factor. Mr Bell: We will give you an extension, Nick. Mr DONDAS: Well, that is good. I will take it. Mr Speaker, I would like to start with a particular document which I believe is one of the most important aspects of this debate. Right from the outset, I would say that the censure motion which states that the Chief Minister has deliberately deceived and fraudulently cheated the people of the Northern Territory is absolutely a lie and a mischievous statement made by the Leader of the Opposition and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. Just let us reflect on where this trouble first started. It first started on 18 October 1984. For the benefit of honourable members, I have a copy of the Commonwealth Gazette dated that day. I will read out the whole Gazette notice. It was an interim order. The last paragraph says: NOW, THEREFORE, I, PAUL JOHN KEATING, the Treasurer aforesaid, pursuant to section 22 of the FOREIGN TAKEOVERS ACT 1975, for the purpose of enabling due consideration to be given to the question of whether an order should be made under subsection 21(2) of the said Act, by this order prohibit the entering into of the proposed arrangement by Nandakot and Fernbank for a period of ninety days after this order comes into operation. Dated 18 October 1984 and signed, Paul Keating, Treasurer. Mr Speaker, I would like now to refer to a statement made by the former Chief Minister of this Assembly. It is in the last Parliamentary Record and fills 9 pages. In probably his last speech in this Assembly as the former Chief Minister, he offered answers and tabled papers in relation to the financial affairs of the Federal Hotels group. Prior to the Chief Minister tabling those documents, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition asked a series of questions. In fact, I went to the trouble of counting those questions. I think they totalled about 21 or 22 questions. He was demanding from the former Chief Minister answers to those questions. At that time, the Leader of the Opposition supported some of what I had said about the former Chief Minister's departure from this Assembly. He also said that he hoped that, before the Chief Minister departed from this place, some evidence supporting the original claims regarding Federal Hotels' financial affairs would be tabled. The Chief Minister tabled those documents and, now that the Leader of the Opposition has returned, I will remind him of 38
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