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Parliamentary record : Part I debates (27 February 1985)



Parliamentary record : Part I debates (27 February 1985)


Debates for 4th Assembly 1983 - 1987; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 4th Assembly 1983 - 1987




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Northern Territory Legislative Assembly

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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 27 February 1985 the 8 or 9 pages of documents. The opposition spoke about collusion, Mr Speaker. We can only assume that the collusion that took place was between the Leader of the Opposition, the Managing Director of Federal Hotels and the federal Treasurer to stop an application to the FIRB involving an operator not an owner. At approximately the same time, FIRB approval was given to the Queensland casino's owners and for South Australian casino operations. Here, we are talking about a mere operator, not an owner. The federal Treasurer intervened, probably at the request of the Leader of the Opposition because, at that particular time, he was acting like a schoolboy. He had a torch to carry for Federal Hotels and he could see that he would go down the gurgle in a federal election and a by-election. Of course, history speaks for itself. The Leader of the Opposition ran his campaign on that issue. He ran it on the basis that the former Chief Minister had diddled the people of the Northern Territory of millions of dollars. After the federal election, in connection with the by-election, he stood outside this Assembly for a television advertisement. He said: 'People of Darwin, questions need to be answered. Don't vote for the CLP on Saturday because they haven't done the right thing. They have taken all this money from you'. On that date, the people of Jingili told the Leader of the Opposition that they were fed up with him. Let us talk about other things, Mr Speaker. I think I have made my point in regard to those 2 elections. There has been talk of ineffective negotiations by the Chief Minister. I think one must really consider the climate in which those negotiations were held. I would like to read out part of a press release that pertains to what I am talking about. It is from the Sydney Morning Herald of 24 April 1984. I will give it to the Leader of the Opposition later. Mr B. Collins: It is a newspaper cutting, not a press release? Mr DONDAS: It is a newspaper cutting. Hr B. Collins: Fine. Mr DONDAS: And you can have it. It reads: Federal Hotels Chairman, Mr Greg Farrell, said: 'It is not my company's policy to sell casino assets but I was persuaded by the logic of incorporating the 2 properties in the overall development scheme'. But the logic of disposing of the expense of investment must also have figured. One of Ipec's directors and holders of 6% of the company's capital, Mr Stanley Ho, told Business Review Weekly last week: 'Let us be honest. The casinos in Alice Springs and Darwin .. haven't been doing too well'. Mr Haddad conceded that, although the 2 casinos were making an operating profit, they were not spinning enough money to pay themselves off. They were not servicing their capital. Federals interest charges of $3.64m for the first half of the year to 30 September 1983 helped keep the company in the red. The casinos in Darwin, Alice Springs and Launceston were identified as the main culprits. In 1983, Federal Hotels cost its parent IPEC a loss of $3.8m. By selling the northern casinos, the company will not only get rid of its two biggest cash drains, it will make a profit on the sale. 39