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Schedule of Stadium Documents

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Wednesday, 21 June 2023

Tags: Stadium, AFL, Macquarie Point, Transparency

Ms O'CONNOR (Clark - Leader of the Greens) - Mr Speaker, I move -

That so much of Standing Orders be suspended to debate the following motion:

(1) Notes that on 24 May 2023 this House ordered the Premier to table:

(a) all signed agreements and documents relating to the AFL agreement by Thursday, 1 June 2023;

(b) all departmental and departmental-commissioned assessments, advice and reports relating to the Macquarie Point stadium by Thursday, 1 June 2023.

(2) Further notes the Premier and Government ministers have refused to release documents relevant to the House's order on the basis of these documents being claimed as Cabinet-in-confidence.

(3) Recognises the blanket claim of Cabinet-in-confidence has been retrospectively applied and should not apply to any material that does not reveal Cabinet deliberations.

(4) Further recognises the Premier has not provided any indication of how many documents he has withheld on the basis of them being Cabinet-in-confidence, nor what these documents are.

(5) Accepts that providing a list detailing these documents could not in any way betray the confidentiality of Cabinet deliberations.

(6) Orders such a list be tabled by the Premier prior to the adjournment of the House today, 21 June 2023, and that this list include the following detail:

(a) a general description of the topic of the document;

(b) a description of the type of document, for example, email or minute to minister;

(c) the page length of the document;

(d) the department or agency where the document originated; and

(e) the date on which the document was provided to Government.

Mr Speaker, we seek the leave to suspend Standing Orders in order to have at least a further measure of transparency about this Government's refusal to comply with the order to table all documents associated with the stadium and the AFL licence deal, including advice from government agencies.

After yesterday's thwarted attempt by the Opposition to have a proper process in place for assessing whether or not documents should be declared Cabinet-in-confidence, the Greens believe it is an important first step to ask the Government to table a list of those documents which it has retrospectively declared as Cabinet-in-confidence because we have a trust issue, obviously, with this Government. That has come about for a range of reasons but principally because we know that the documents tabled on 1 June were not the complete set. We know the documents tabled yesterday are not the entirety of advice from government agencies.

We are still looking for the advice from the Department of Treasury and Finance to the Treasurer: information which we do not believe should be captured by Cabinet in confidence.

As a bare minimum, we would like the House to order the Premier and the Government to table a list of those documents which it has declared retrospectively, as Cabinet in confidence.

It is a matter of historical record that there has been an attempted deception here. The deception began on 1 June. The Premier has claimed that is all the information that he was given to table. It strikes me that is a remarkable lack of curiosity on his part. Did he not check and cross check that all agencies had provided their advice as ordered to by the House?

We had a sequence of ministers sit across from Opposition and Greens members at the Estimates table and, we believe, falsely claim that there was no more information that needed to be provided to the House. The Premier claimed at the Estimates table that he provided all that the House had asked for. We had the Treasurer gag his secretary so the secretary could not answer Dr Woodruff's questions about any advice that the Department of Treasury and Finance had provided to the Treasurer.

Then, of course, we had the infamous Mr Barnett, serial misleader, at the Estimates table in response to my repeated questions about advice from the Department of State Growth to him about the stadium, three times deny that advice existed. Under further questioning it became clear, because the outgoing secretary of State Growth, Kim Evans, belled the cat and confirmed that there was advice provided to the Minister for State Growth, who sat there at the Estimates table and told a bare-faced untruth, not once, not twice, but three times in moments that were evocative of Adam Brooks at the Estimates table all those years ago.

We think this is an appropriate move for the House to first have that list. We believe it should exist and if it does not exist, the Premier, the Government, needs to pull it together because there will be, apparently, quite a few documents that fall outside the House's order which have been retrospectively declared Cabinet in confidence.

We are concerned that some piles of departmental advice were put on a trolley and driven through the Cabinet office and out the door, in order to have them declared as Cabinet in confidence. This is information the Tasmanian people have a right to see. The Tasmanian people who were not asked if they want a massive stadium at Macquarie Point are being told that they will fund it. It is a blank cheque stadium that is likely to cost much more than $715 million. It is likely to cost over $1 billion. It will not be the AFL that is paying that price. It will not be the Rockcliff Government that is paying that price. It will be the people of Tasmania.

We commend the motion to the House.