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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 4 Hansard (1 April) . . Page.. 1521..


MR HARGREAVES: I wish to address some remarks made in this debate by the Leader of the Opposition. Mr Smyth suggested in this debate, by inference, that Mrs Cross was attempting to blackmail Mrs Dunne into resigning. He did not use those words exactly and I do not have a copy of the wording, but I recall that.

During the debate, Mrs Cross indicated a preferred conclusion to this issue. She indicated to Mrs Dunne that there was an honourable way to reinstate Mrs Dunne's standing as a member of this place. Mrs Cross indicated that she was prepared to soften her position in relation to action by the Assembly if Mrs Dunne resigned as chair of the Standing Committee on Planning and Environment. She did not blackmail Mrs Dunne. Such a suggestion is not only a misrepresentation of Mrs Cross's offer, but it is totally unparliamentary. The defence of a coward is to attack an accuser. This suggestion shows the shallowness of Mr Smyth's defence of Mrs Dunne. Not only did he launch into quite a personal attack on me, but he cast serious aspersions on the integrity of Mrs Cross.

Mr Smyth: Point of order, Mr Speaker: I question the relevance of this. This is more in the nature of a personal explanation under standing order 46.

MR SPEAKER: No, the Assembly has granted Mr Hargreaves leave to speak and he has leave to speak.

MR HARGREAVES: The issue is whether the recommendation of the Privileges Committee should be accepted by this Assembly. In defending the integrity of her committee and the position of any chair of the committee, Mrs Cross should not be attacked in this way. Her position should be considered and treated with respect.

Mr Speaker, I believe that the Assembly should express its position unequivocally and I will accept the will of the Assembly. I have put my arguments forward and have done so without making a personal attack. Mr Smyth should apologise for his intemperate approach and his unparliamentary personal attack. At the very least, he should withdraw any suggestion, made directly or by innuendo, that Mrs Cross was attempting to blackmail Mrs Dunne into resigning.

MR SPEAKER: Did you use the word "blackmail", Mr Smyth?

Mr Smyth: I do not recall using it. I withdraw the word "blackmail"if I used it and if members find it offensive.

MR SPEAKER: Thank you, Mr Smyth.

MRS DUNNE (3.43): I seek leave to speak again.

Leave granted.

MRS DUNNE: Mr Speaker, let me conclude this debate by reiterating my unreserved apology for what I admit has been an error, namely the publication of a now notorious pamphlet. I also want to clarify my remarks as reported in the Canberra Times this morning. Mr Speaker, as far as I can recall, I was quoted accurately and I shall not attempt to deny the report but, as Mr Smyth said earlier in this debate-and as I said


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