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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 6 Hansard (23 June) . . Page.. 2598..


MRS DUNNE (continuing):

Today, whilst talking about the appropriate use of RILU-I do not want to reflect on that debate-Mr Smyth said that the problem was that we were robbing Peter to pay Paul and that we were cutting off our nose to spite our face. When Mr Corbell stood up, he took exception to that. He called it systemic reform. I think that today and yesterday we have heard a new level of health newspeak that would make George Orwell want to eat his heart out.

Mr Speaker, I did contemplate asking you today a question without notice about whether there had been unauthorised renovations to the ACT Legislative Assembly building, because in question time yesterday the Chief Minister embarrassed himself by musing about the fact that his loo was not dual-flushing. I used to work for a former Chief Minister and staff were allowed to use the private facilities. The executive washroom was open to anyone in the office who needed to use it and when I was there the loo was dual-flushing. I was a bit concerned about that but, rather than taking up the time of the Assembly, I just asked Barry and Barry told me, as I suspected, that all the loos in this place have been dual-flushing since the place was renovated in 1994. Perhaps the Minister for Environment needs to take a little bit more notice of what is going on.

On a more serious note, Mr Speaker, I cannot let the debate that went on this afternoon go uncommented on. I was shocked to see and hear Mr Stanhope rise in this place and talk about a public servant, not once but probably 15 or 20 times, in the course of a debate. He named a public servant who advised the government on the greenhouse strategy and did so quite deliberately because that public servant had, in a previous life, worked for a member of this Assembly. I think it was done out of base political motives and it was an entirely inappropriate thing to do.

When he first did it, I went to Mr Stanhope's staff and expressed my dissatisfaction. As I said to Mr Stanhope's staff, as a general rule we walk on hot rocks and we walk on broken glass to avoid naming public servants. Sometimes we fail. We should not do it, but to do it persistently and systematically, as Mr Stanhope did today, was a disgrace. It diminishes the Chief Minister and it is not fair to the public servant. It was done for a base political motive and the Chief Minister should be ashamed of himself.

Naming of public servants

MS TUCKER (10.46): I want to speak on the same subject. I want to speak again about Mr Stanhope's response to my motion on greenhouse gas emissions and the fact that he chose repeatedly to invoke the name and so the history of one individual, not a particularly senior public servant, in his speech. I regard the way Mr Stanhope used the public servant's name as an attack on his integrity, his position and his privacy. Why does this one officer, whom I know has always done his work with the utmost professionalism, whether in the public service or in a political office, have to carry alone both the opprobrium and the credit for the government's views, views which may or may not be consistent with his own?

I do not know quite how the chain of command works, but I imagine and hope that there would be more than one person who is the source of advice to the government on greenhouse issues and the government's final position. No individual employed in what we would hope is a non-political role should be treated in that way. I imagine that staff


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