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





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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 grinning across there, had told us here and outside the Assembly that guarantees would not be given on this deal - we at last have the facts in front of us, or some of them at least. We will deal with those later. Mr Speaker, I might add this, and I am quite happy to give the Leader of Government Business 24 hours notice of this one. In respect of the unbelievable deal revealed in these papers and the disgraceful loss of public money involved, the government may well have another censure motion wrapped around its ears tomorrow morning. We now know that the full extent of the government's involvement in this whole deal is almost beyond belief. Certainly, it goes some way beyond my worst fears. Let there be no doubt that there were 2 very precise and clearly-defined goals in the Chief Minister's deceit and those goals were achieved. No doubt, it is in line with new-age thinking. The first goal was to ensure the victory of Paul Everingham at the federal election and the second was to ensure the CLP victory in the Jingili by-election. In the case of the federal election, a mere 700 votes changed out of 70 000 would have altered the result and a mere 90 votes changed in the Jingili by-election would have altered that result. This statement was issued deliberately, and in a panic, in order to save those 2 campaigns. The panic was generated 'because, at the time, the heat was really on the government. The ALP was publicly making what have now proven to be entirely accurate statements that taxpayers' money had been involved in the takeover deal and guarantees had been given by the Northern Territory government. Evidence was given to support those statements. In order to save those campaigns that were in dire trouble, those statements had to be flatly refuted and there was only one person with the authority to do that: the honourable Chief Minister. The honourable Chief Minister, embarrassed by his personal knowledge of the truth of the claims we were making, deliberately issued a press statement which created entirely the opposite impression. By sleight of hand, he deliberately sought to refute those charges. The words 'sleight of hand' are not my words but the words of a Northern Territory editorial writer. It is now a matter of public record, verified by the February Northern Territory Government Gazette, that $51.2m was transferred from a Treasury operational trust account - part of the Northern Territory's budget - to the former casino owners. $23m of that money came from Treasury funds when all of the information given to this Assembly indicated that such a thing would never happen. I would ask anyone who wants to examine whether the Chief Minister's whole deception and behaviour warrant this censure to consider a very simple proposition. What if the Chief Minister and Treasurer, instead of issuing this utterly false statement on 28 November, had simply told Territorians the truth of what he had personally ordered to be done 2 weeks earlier - that the Territory Treasury had been used to payout money largely on behalf of Henry and Walker, that $23m of it belonged to the Treasury and that $23m of it had been obtained with a Northern Territory government guarantee? Mr Speaker, simply reconstruct the press release, substitute the truth for the untruths and then put it in the context of the day that release was issued. There would be very few people who would question that, if that had happened, Mr Paul Everingham would not be sitting in the federal parliament today and the new honourable member for Jingili would not be here today either. Both those honourable members are indeed sitting in their places as a direct result of the deception and fraud perpetrated by the Northern Territory's Chief Minister. Nothing committed by the juvenile offenders so constantly talked about by the new honourable member for Jingili would even come close to the level of dishonesty that put him into this Assembly. 26