State Burrinjuck MP Katrina Hodgkinson has branded the Kenmore Hospital sale process as "on the nose" and repeated her call for the State Government to reveal whether there was political influence at any level.
"This situation has been very ugly - unnecessarily ugly," Ms Hodgkinson said in State Parliament on Thursday.
Ms Hodgkinson said any tendering party who sought to gain advantage by way of lobbying with government, an officer of the government or a Minister, risked disqualification from the process.
Victorian company, Longreach Capital Pty Ltd, headed by John Benjamin, was selected as preferred proponent for the Kenmore Hospital sale, ahead of Sydney-based Terrence Read and Associates.
"Councillor R. Lucas was quoted in the Goulburn Post on September 27, 2002 as having met John Benjamin 'almost 18 months ago' during the early stages of the tendering process," Ms Hodgkinson said. "That same article stated that he (Cr Lucas) referred Mr Benjamin to Mr R.M. Cavalier, a former Labor Minister for Education. On May 16, 2003 the local newspaper reported that at the council meeting held on May 30 Cr Susan Harris repeatedly questioned Cr Lucas on how he knew the details of the Kenmore sale, which had not been released. Mayor Hadlow ruled the question out of order three times and refused to allow Cr Lucas to answer."
She said unconfirmed information circulating in the local community indicated that a "certain councillor" had actively lobbied against the Read and Associates proposal.
Ms Hodgkinson said Goulburn Mayor, Max Hadlow, a member of the ALP, had been a member of a nine-member panel which chose Longreach Capital Pty Ltd.
In the Legislative Council, Commerce Minister John Della Bosca denied knowing that any person had been given inside information about the Longreach proposal.
"I have no knowledge of anybody being given privileged information," Mr Della Bosca said.
Shadow Local Government Minister, Duncan Gay, questioned Mr Della Bosca on whether the Australian Labor Party in NSW or Victoria had ever received donations from Longreach Capital or any company with which it was associated.
"I am happy to answer the honourable member's question but I am disturbed at the inferences in it and where he is attempting to take this matter...It is not my function in this place to ascertain
who from the private sector may or may not have donated to the Labor Party, the National Party or the West Australian Greens. I do not know that and it is not part of my function. The honourable member knows that the information is on the public record and he can find it out for himself," Mr Della Bosca said.
In the Legislative Assembly Ms Hodgkinson said all the people of Burrinjuck asked for was to know the tendering process had been conducted properly and fairly.
"Throughout the whole process, over the past 12 months, I have called for transparency and openness. However, the brick wall of secrecy and lack of accountability by this Government has forced these allegations to circulate.
"If the government has nothing to hide, it should come out and say so. If the secrecy is kept in place we have no alternative but to accept the worst - that corruption has been a part of the sale and that the tendering process has been fundamentally flawed.
"If the people of Burrinjuck were confident that the tendering process had been conducted properly and fairly the rumours would stop. If that does not happen, I inform the Government that this is on the nose and will remain so in my electorate," she said.