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3The Independent Weekly
news July 2 - 8, 2010
It was Friday, February 19, and
State Treasurer Kevin Foley was
sitting with Stadium Management
Authority chief executive Leigh
Whicker. They were discussing
a very contentious electoral ploy
which the Labor Party had sprung
on the public and SA s sporting
That plan was to raze Adelaide
Oval to the ground and build a new
stadium on the site. It had been
announced by Foley and Premier
Mike Rann in December, almost
immediately after the Liberals
announced their own plans for
a much less controversial new
stadium not very far to the west.
In December, Foley promised
the state taxpayers contribution
would be capped. The total cost
would be $450 million -- "And not a
penny more!" said the Treasurer.
Money would also come from the
It seemed like a win-win, but
Opposition Leader Isobel Redmond
opened the batting for the under-
dogs. "Their stadium doesn t have
a roof, doesn t have car parking,
doesn t solve a whole lot of problems
that need to be solved," she said.
The real issue, though, was the
cost. Sporting codes suspected the
$450 million would never be enough,
and on February 19 Whicker
We now know, although Foley
"forgot" to tell us, that the Treasurer
visited Whicker s office at AAMI
"I provided Mr Foley with a brief
overview of the work that had been
conducted thus far with the forma-
tion of the SMA. I also provided Mr
Foley a preliminary cost figure from
the Rider Levett Bucknall document,
which we have tabled, of $469
million; that was a verbal briefing---
and brief briefing," Whicker told a
parliamentary committee this week.
Foley left the meeting.
The next day, February 20, the
Government called on the State
Governor and the writs for the
election were issued that Saturday.
"As you could imagine, the
meeting occurred on the day before
the election was called. It would be
fair to say that I had an expectation
that the election campaign proper
was about to begin and I was largely
preoccupied with the impending
campaign," Foley was to tell the
house later, after it was discovered
he had misled parliament.
Within hours of the Foley-Rann
stadium announcement, shadow
finance minister Rob Lucas was
poring over the figures. To him, they
seemed to make no sense.
On March 8, he issued a statement
headed: "$100 million blowout on
Adelaide Oval costings."
"It can be revealed today that the
cost of Premier Rann s proposed
Adelaide Oval redevelopment had
blown out by about $100 million,"
Foley said the claims were
untrue, and said it was evidence
the Liberals were "rattled" because
of the impending election. "The
Government has received no advice
from the Stadium Management
Authority that the cost of the
redevelopment has blown out,"
Foley said. "The Government s
contribution is capped at $450
million and this has been made
clear from the start. There has not
been one scrap of advice from the
Stadium Management Authority
that this is not sufficient to meet the
Foley went further. He accused
Lucas of "making this up" -- a very
serious allegation to make against
a man who had once been treasurer
And then Foley sold his soul -- or at
least his mother s mother s soul.
"I promise on the soul of my
grandmother we have not received
any advice to say the $450 million is
not enough," Foley pledged.
How does this sit with a radio
interview Foley had given on March
6? Speaking with Chris Dittmar,
Michelangelo Rucci and Matthew
Clarke on FIVEaa, Foley made what
Lucas regards as a Freudian slip.
The Treasurer said: "So, what we
are comparing is a (Liberal) project
for a new stadium costing $1.3 billion
to $1.5 billion versus an upgrade of
Adelaide Oval for $500 million."
But Dittmar is sharp. "Where did
$500 million come from? It was $450
million in December, now you re
saying $500 million," he said.
"Guys," replied Foley, "it was $450
million and I ve just given a ballpark
figure. It s $450 million; there s no
escalation in the costs."
Rucci fired back: "Do you actually
have genuine order to costings for
Adelaide Oval s redevelopment?"
Foley s tone rose an octave. "We
have documentation that goes way
beyond my opponents," he said --
proving without a doubt that Foley
had the details.
"He said he had documenta-
tion that went way beyond his
opponents," Lucas recently said
in parliament of that interview.
"We had an architect-prepared
drawing with costing experts
for a stand-alone stadium. If the
Treasurer is indicating there that
he had documentation beyond
that, he therefore must have had
architect-prepared drawings and a
signed-off costing analysis done by
a costing expert at that date, which
was 6 March."
Rucci had gone on to say: "But
that s the point ... so, we don t know
what the cost of Adelaide Oval s
redevelopment will be then?"
"It ll be $450 million," Foley
answered. "Who said there ll be a
blowout? You just can t make those
Lucas later told Parliament: "He
was swearing on his grandmother s
soul and all those things were
untrue, and he knew them to be
untrue. Many people were aware
that the Government s guru in
relation to infrastructure matters,
Rod Hook, working with the people
concerned on this particular project,
had indicated to his colleagues that
there was no way that they could do
the project for $450 million."
Shadow treasurer Iain Evans led
the charge for a motion of no-
confidence in Foley on Wednesday
"He lied to South Australia for the
whole of the election campaign,"
Evans insisted. "The Treasurer had
ample time to come out and correct
the record during the campaign. On
6 March there was a radio interview.
The Treasurer lies dormant and
continues the misinformation. On
8 March, 9 March and 10 March
this Treasurer had ample oppor-
tunity to come out and correct the
"He wants us to believe that
he did not tell anyone, not a soul.
You can imagine the scene in the
minister s office. He goes down to
meet Leigh Whicker on 19 February,
he comes back to the office and the
staff say, How did the meeting with
Mr Whicker go? The Treasurer s
answer? I forget. This is the story,
the sham, that this government is
peddling; that the Treasurer can
have a briefing, it goes from $450
million to $469 million, and the
Treasurer just tells no one. Does
anyone actually believe that story?
It is a crock. This Treasurer misled
the public for the whole of the
campaign, and he took a deliberate
decision to do so, by his own
Like the missing 18½ minutes of Nixon's
Watergate tapes, South Australians may never
know what was said or done when Kevin Foley
heard about Ovalgate. Hendrik Gout reports.
Continued Page 7
Photo: Kate Elmes
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