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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2000 Week 5 Hansard (9 May) . . Page.. 1277..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

the horizon. I note, incidentally, that the Yellow Pages small business index found in February of this year that a net balance of 54 per cent of ACT small business proprietors were confident about their business prospects for the coming 12 months.

Ms Carnell: It is not just the chamber.

MR HUMPHRIES: It is not just the chamber. I know that those opposite would like to say that everyone is falling apart over this matter, Mr Speaker, but clearly they are very positive.

Members Staff-Travel

MR HIRD: Mr Speaker, this is a first for me. My question is directed to you, sir. It concerns a study trip taken by the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Stanhope, to Burnie in Tasmania in February last for a meeting of Labor leaders. Mr Speaker, you will recall that in 1995 Mr Stefaniak repaid $405 after pressure from the ALP because his senior adviser attended a meeting of coalition education policy advisers in Melbourne. I notice that Mr Stanhope's study trip report, brief as it is, identifies a cost of $277.50 paid from training allocations. Is it acceptable practice of the parliament to use training allocations for staff to attend party political events? If so, will you consider a request from Mr Stefaniak to refund the $405 which he repaid in 1995?

MR SPEAKER: I do not recall the details of the 1995 incident. If I did, I would probably be on Who wants to be a Millionaire. I will take the matter on notice and give you an answer in due course.

MR HIRD: Mr Speaker, perhaps you will also take on notice that in 1995 Mr Berry said, "The minister has now been embarrassed enough to agree to pay back the $405 used for the trip, which was clearly a party political function." Mr Speaker, if you do not refund the $405 to Mr Stefaniak, will you ask the Leader of the Opposition to repay the $277.50 paid by taxpayers of the ACT for the staffer to attend what was clearly a party political function?

MR SPEAKER: Mr Hird, as I said in answering your first question, I will take the matter on notice and investigate it.

Drug Use Study

MR KAINE: My question is to the Minister for Health and Community Care. I do not often ask him a question, but I think that this one is a bottler. My question relates to a matter which was reported in the Canberra Times on 29 April. The report so astonished me that I checked the date to be sure that it was not some misguided April Fools' Day joke. It referred to a decade-long study by an Australian National University researcher into the activities of a group of 40 illegal drug users in the ACT-a study which, by the way, came to the unsurprising conclusion that the illegal use of heroin by these people, who call themselves Oswaldians, made them as susceptible to heroin addiction as other illegal drug users.

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