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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 4 Hansard (9 April) . . Page.. 871..


MR PRATT (continuing):

Mr Corbell misrepresented me today, during question time, when he stated that I had somehow slurred the character of Ms Connors. There is no evidence to indicate that I have slurred Ms Connors' character. On the contrary, I have acknowledged Ms Connors' experience and capabilities. If he had been listening when I challenged him in the estimates inquiry, he would have noted that I had questioned the appropriateness of his appointment of Ms Connors. I did not question her character. That is not the way I conduct business.

Mr Corbell's allegation is in fact a personal attack on me, and is a grossly exaggerated misrepresentation. This attack-a smokescreen to hide my duty in opposition to question the government on the probity of the planning and implementation of an inquiry-is clearly designed to cover the minister's inadequacies and professional incompetence.

Further, Mr Corbell has misrepresented me in his statement that I had not investigated the background to his appointment of Ms Connors. Mr Speaker, I had, of course, done that, in my capacity of shadow spokesman for education. I have discovered that whilst Ms Connors is a competent educationalist, she is also co-convenor of Priority Public, a lobby group for government schools.

Far from attacking Ms Connors, I have in fact scrutinised, and will continue to scrutinise, the establishment and implementation of this education inquiry. There are justified community concerns on the balance of this inquiry, and I assure the minister that I consider it my duty to question all aspects of this inquiry.

If Mr Corbell feels he has to resort to unjustified personal attacks, that is fine-no problem. But it will reflect poorly on him.

I challenge the minister to produce the words I have been accused of using to slur Ms Connors' character, as he has alleged. In fact, no such words exist. I must therefore ask the minister to retract his words on this matter.

Death of Captain Geoff Hood

MRS DUNNE (5.53): Mr Speaker, I rise in this adjournment debate to say a few words on the passing of Captain Geoff Hood, a Canberra wine pioneer and former naval engineer, who died recently at the age of 84.

Geoff was known, to family and friends alike, as a most energetic man who enjoyed a close affinity with the soil. He will be remembered for many achievements, not least the wonderful, robust reds he produced at Westering on Lake George.

Geoff Hood's affinity with the soil became apparent during the Great Depression when, as a boy, he contributed to the family coffers by growing and selling tomatoes. He was born from the union of two long-established Hobart families. As a young man, Geoff was an enthusiastic sportsman-involved in rowing, sailing, skiing, swimming and bushwalking. He had a great fondness for the bush, and spent much of his time exploring the extensive, uncharted wilderness of south-west Tasmania.


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