Territory Stories

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





Publisher name

Northern Territory Legislative Assembly

Place of publication


File type



Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

Copyright owner

Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



Parent handle


Citation address


Page content

DEBATES - Wednesday 27 February 1985 take into consideration was the $2.5m which has been lost in the last 12 months in gaming taxes that Federal Hotels paid in its last operating year. It did not take into account the $2rn that is to be paid back ovelO the next I5-odd. years which is to corne out of our own profits. When you add all that together, the total sum is $11.5m down the gurgle so far. Mr Speaker, what a deal! I will cover that in a later debate. As I said, the Chief Minister cannot open his mouth on this issue without confusing and further deceiving the people of the Northern Territory as to what kind of a deal he has created. It is an absolute disgrace. I wHItell you where we were wrong. Mr Speaker. The one thing that we have had wrong over the last 6 months is that we have been saying that $245 has been paid in the last quarter by the new operators as compared with almost $800 000 by Federal Hotels. This morning, the Northern Territory Treasury revealed that the $245 is, in fact, a carry-over sum from Federal Hotels' taxes and that, to this time, the new operators have not paid a cent. That is the only fact we had wrong. Compare the track records of the new Chief Minister and myself over the last 6 months on this issue. Mr Speaker, we spent all last night looking through these documents and, on every page, I saw an opposition press release over the last 6 months, Have a look at the conditions. Have a look at the reasons why the government said it was forced to fork out this extra money as a gift. The second last reason was that, if it had not, the new' operators might have walked out on the deal. That is precisely what I speculated - and it was only speculation happened last year. It had the government well and truly over. a barrel. It was not its fault; it had been led into this deal. It was not Federal Hotels' fault. Mr Speaker, I could cop this nonsense about compulsory acquisition if the 2 casinos in Tasmania had fallen down around the ears of Federal.Hotels in the last 12 months and if the 3 hotels it operated in the Northern Territory had collapsed overnight. But the fact is that those casinos are continuing to pay the Tasmanian government a substantial sum ofnioney in gaming taxes 'and Federal Hotels is continuing to operate successfully. The one scenario that the government never covers in any of these debates is the option of letting them run their own place, and paying $2.5m a year which we then collect. That does not even corne into the thinking of these people any more. It really is cloud cuckoo land stuff taken to ridiculous extremes. Do not tell me that John Haddad carne into this Assembly with a loaded gun and pointed it at the head of the former Chief Minister and said: 'I force you to pass this compulsory act of acquisition which means you then have to pay us'. The boot was on the other foot. The government wrote the rules. It passed the act of parliament and used the condit.ions of its own act as a reason for trying to create the ridiculous impression that the new Chief Minister .obtained some kind of marvellous bargain. He really does live in Walter Mitty land. If that is the result of new-age. thinking, I do not want a bar of it. Mr Speaker, I will conclude on the relevant point in this debate. The Chief Minister's statement was indeed issued at a crucial time last year. Because .he was not making any secret of it, we know that the CLP candidate in the federal election knew he had a hard job in front of him. 700 votes placed differently in 70 000 would have chan.ged that result. Some people very close to the CLP have said to me, quite specifically: 'If any of this had corne out before the election, it would have been goodbye to Everingham'. There is not a single person in the Northern Territory who doubts that. The Deputy Chief Minister carried on at length this morning about how terrible our accusations were. In fact, he highlighted the issues. Those accusations were refuted by 43