Thursday, 10 November 2011
Questions without Notice
Obviously you are now trying to run around to get me to effectively table the legal advice, Senator Birmingham, but that is not going to happen. As we discussed yesterday, those opposite never went down that path previously. Let me be clear, because Senator Birmingham's questions rely on picking up one little bit of his press release and reading it out as fact. Much of the commentary on the leaked report has failed to appreciate that the next step in the tender process was to firm up bidder claims in contractual form. Consistent with the request for tender documentation originally issued by the government on 4 February 2011, a negotiation phase was always contemplated as part of this process, with negotiations possible with any number of tenderers. The leak of confidential information made this phase of the tender process—a phase which was absolutely crucial in my consideration of an outcome—completely untenable. As the nature and extent of the leaks were unknown, it was impossible to determine to what extent the commercial-in-confidence material on which those negotiations would rely had been compromised. Tenderers were advised of the government's decision and a public statement was made by me on 7 November.