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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 5 Hansard (14 May) . . Page.. 2095..


MS MacDONALD (continuing):

The other thing I want to say also relates to fine cuisine. I want to commend to the Assembly and express my great joy at the establishment of A Bite to Eat, a cafe in Chifley. I am most excited, Mr Speaker, because ever since my arrival in the suburb of Chifley to live I have been hoping and wishing, almost to the point of praying, for a cafe at my local shops. I now have that and all I need to do is take a five-minute walk or less from my front door and there have coffee served. Once again, I do not know the surnames, but I would like to congratulate Rebecca and Danny on opening A Bite to Eat and wish them all the best of luck with their venture.

Mental health

MR SMYTH (Leader of the Opposition) (1.15 am): Members will be aware that I am committed to big increases in mental health funding by a Smyth Liberal ACT government. Members also will be aware that I have been pursuing Mr Corbell for some time over the relative level of mental health funding per capita over recent years.

I have previously challenged the minister to check the figures he has given to this Assembly on several occasions and to explain the changes in measuring that funding in ACT budget papers which he appears to have been using to create a false impression of the level of increase under this government. I have also challenged him to explain an apparently false boast that his government has given $300,000 for mental health nursing scholarships, as there is no evidence of any such initiative.

On 1 April, a whole series of questions appeared on the notice paper-Nos 1460, 1461, 1462, 1463 and 1464-seeking the truth. Question No 1464, on a relatively minor point, has been answered, as has question No 1463, with the admission that the minister has claimed money set aside by the previous government, a misleading of the Assembly for which the minister is yet to apologise. Both answers were typically late.

The other three questions remain unanswered, although I note that the minister said earlier today that they were in the mail, even though I have already been through the stage of demanding under standing order 118 that the minister explain the lateness of his answers. Last night the minister snuck in here at nearly midnight and conceded in the adjournment debate just one point of the several I have been challenging him on. In fact, he acknowledged only one act of misleading, on 11 March, even though he repeated his claims on both 30 March and 31 March.

It is quite clear that in the background he and his department have been checking on my questions, so why has he still not been accountable to this Assembly over the issue? I warn the minister that if he indeed knows the answers to my questions and he knows that he has misled the Assembly in relation to these issues, then he failed last night to provide full disclosure to the Assembly. Once more I insist that the minister reveal the answers to the questions asked of him. I place him and the Chief Minister on notice that the minister is not living up to the requirements of the ministerial code of conduct, which states:

All ministers are to recognise the importance of full and true disclosures and accountability to the parliament.


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