Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 10 Hansard (24 August) . . Page.. 4031..
MS GALLAGHER: The answers that I gave on 3 August and 4 August were correct. I did not know of the allegations that have been raised in this chamber or that have been subject, as we now know, to a public interest disclosure.
MRS BURKE: I ask a supplementary question. Minister, why do you assert the public interest disclosure defence as the reason why you knew nothing about this issue when the chief executive officer and other senior managers knew about this for months before the public interest disclosure was lodged?
MS GALLAGHER: I repeat that no information about this public interest disclosure-which I presume is what Mrs Burke is alluding to-was brought to the attention of my office. It is very difficult for me to answer why a matter that was brought to the attention of the chief executive and other senior officers was not brought to my attention. That was not a decision that I made. I can only repeat that my answers in this Assembly have been correct. A matter is currently under very thorough investigation and it is quite proper that that investigation be undertaken.
When that investigation has been undertaken I will be fully briefed on the matter. Any action that is required to follow that investigation will be taken. At this stage for the benefit of Assembly members I repeat: all the allegations that have been tossed around this chamber and that I believe are subject to a public interest disclosure are unsubstantiated at this stage. It is not in the interests of the natural justice of other people who might be involved in those allegations to have this matter discussed in such a way. If members would like a private briefing on how this matter is being handled I would be more than happy to arrange that.
It is entirely inappropriate for this matter to be the subject of continuous discussion in question time. I have had legal advice to the effect that I cannot respond to allegations being made in question time. If members are interested in a briefing-it would be more beneficial for them if they were as interested as they pretend to be in question time-I will arrange one for them. I urge Assembly members to tread carefully in relation to this matter. These allegations are unsubstantiated. A process is in place. When that investigation is finished we will all be the wiser for it.
Department of Education and Training
MR STEFANIAK: My question is also to the Minister for Education and Training. Minister, you continue to argue that you knew nothing about the concerns of alleged corruption and maladministration within your own department, even though correspondence shows your chief executive was fully informed, as were three senior departmental managers as far back as October last year. Minister, did the CPSU fax your office a copy of the public interest disclosure which articulates these concerns? If so, when was the PID faxed to your office?
MS GALLAGHER: From advice I have taken from my adviser, I understand the CPSU left a message with my office on 19 July, naming an employee of the Department of Education and Training. That was the message that was left. Prior to returning that call, my adviser undertook a search of records, because the message had been left that