Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 6 Hansard (24 June) . . Page.. 2710..
MR CORBELL (continuing):
to my attention. This motion of no confidence is pedantic, confused and, based on the evidence that I have presented today, without any foundation whatsoever.
MR STEFANIAK (9.08): I will speak to a number of points first in relation to the allegations initially against the Minister for Health and Minister for Planning, then I will read out the relevant part of the code of conduct and then I will say a few other things about some previous matters which are very relevant when the Assembly is considering this matter.
As to the first issue that the minister refers to, from what I can see there is misleading on the current government funded mental health nursing scholarships. On 30 March, some false information was given by the minister-namely, the false claim that the current government had funded mental health nursing scholarships through their budgets. Mr Smyth, I think, has gone through the actual facts of what occurred.
The next relevant date is 1 April. The error was drawn to his attention by a question that appeared on the notice paper and, again, by discussion in the estimates hearing on 7 April. By returning an answer to the question on notice presented to the Assembly on 14 May, the minister had signed off a document that confirmed that the information as originally given was misleading. The response was that the minister has never given the Assembly a correction; hence on each of the sitting days-4 May, 5 May, 13 May, 14 May, 25 May, 22 June and 23 June-he was still in breach of his obligations to correct the record.
There is another matter-this is No 2-which is the claim that the Leader of the Opposition has made a statement recorded in Hansard. We say that the minister misled the Assembly by giving false information on 3 March-namely, the false claim that the opposition leader had made in the Assembly about a forensic unit. No statement of the kind alleged by the minister has ever been made in the Assembly. My colleague Mr Smyth has said that he has trawled Hansard and there is simply no record of it.
That error was drawn to the minister's attention by Mr Smyth by way of a personal explanation on 1 April. The response was that the minister has never given the Assembly a correction; hence on each of the sitting days-4 May, 5 May, 13 May, 14 May, 25 May, 22 June and 23 June-he has continued to be in breach of his obligation to correct the record.
Now we come to the mental health funding. I find this quite amazing: we have a briefing note on 10 February. The minister, firstly, misled the media with a media release on 10 February, which made this false claim in relation to the $67. There was some false information then given by the minister on 11 March-again about the $67. That was repeated on 30 and 31 March. The minister was made aware of this and the errors were drawn to his attention in the adjournment debate on 30 March and again through a direct question on 31 March. In addition, there were questions on notice placed on 1 April-
Mr Wood: Are you saying it happened in March?
MR STEFANIAK: He was briefed on 3 May by the chief executive.
Mr Wood: Isn't this the end of June?