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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 9 Hansard (19 August) . . Page.. 3979..


MRS DUNNE (continuing):

which could almost have been a compliment under other circumstances-and a couple of ritual uttered-and-withdrawn-in-one-breath accusations of lying, the Chief Minister was scandalised by the term "bleated"-he found this term offensive. His response to this was, "It's just beyond the pale; it's just personal, vindictive viciousness, is what it is; petty-minded nastiness; a bloody suppurating boil."

MR SPEAKER: Order! At this point, I will let you know that I have been considering the matter, and I will be asking for the withdrawal of that in due course.

MRS DUNNE: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Honestly, if I had not heard it-

MR SPEAKER: I would ask you not to refer to it.

MRS DUNNE: I will try not to. If I had not heard the Chief Minister's outburst, I would have thought it was an unconvincing caricature of a petulant politician, or an example of, "You can dish it out but you cannot take it"political invective-or it could have been a first draft of a John Clarke/Brian Dawe political satire. "Bleating"is considered to be personal and vindictive, but the remarks of the Chief Minister seem to be part of the rich tapestry of political vituperation of the Paul Keating school.

We know that, when the Chief Minister uses the word "personal"he talks about criticism of him and his government. For him, whether a criticism is personal is a matter of whom it is directed to. An attack on a spouse of a member in relation to his business affairs, thrown into question time in response to a dorothy dixer and thus entirely premeditated, is fair enough, but criticism of a minister's actions or duties is a personal attack.

I have observed in the past that this is like Louis XIV's dictum, L'etat, c'est moi"-I am the state-"Anyone who criticises my government criticises me ... "It also reminds me of the other famous epithet about the Bourbons-"In four hundred years they have learnt nothing and forgotten nothing."I think we have learnt nothing here from the Chief Minister this week but, sadly, "forgotten nothing"does not seem to apply.

In fact, we saw evidence of a further spread of the epidemic of memory loss from Mr Quinlan in question time yesterday, who did not have a recollection of asking InTACT for Mr Stanhope's phone records. One might ask whether this is the sort of thing one might do and then forget; or not do and not remember that you did not do it. It seems that this is becoming a standard form of words-such as "like"amongst teenagers, or "alleged"amongst crime reporters and politicians.

My favourite case of amnesia was that of the Chief Minister, when he argued the need to ensure that women had the same level of recognition and the same level of support that we provide to male athletes. In his case he evidently achieved that aim, at least in relation to recognition, or surpassed it. Not only has he remembered the names of several female athletes but, as a truly impressive act of positive discrimination, he has forgotten the name of the captain of the ACT Brumbies. Just for the record, it is Sterling Mortlock.

Battle of Long Tan

MR PRATT (6.18): I rise here today to observe the 38th Anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan which was commemorated yesterday. I send my best wishes to those members


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