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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 10 Hansard (25 August) . . Page.. 4136..


MR SMYTH: That the Labor Party had given a commitment prior to the election.

MR CORBELL: Again, I would have to check the notes of my meeting with Mr O'Keefe. I will take the question on notice and provide an answer to the member.

Department of Education and Training

MRS BURKE: My question is to the Minister for Education and Training, Ms Gallagher. Minister, yesterday you said in the chamber that your office had received a fax from the CPSU on 19 July 2004 that was a copy of a public interest disclosure articulating concerns with corruption and maladministration within your department. That was after you had clearly said in the chamber on 4 August 2004 that your office had received no such correspondence.

Receipt by your office of two pages of the PID would mean that the cover page to the fax would highlight that a further 19 pages would follow. Were you aware that your senior adviser requested the fax? Did you approve this request? Is this request not in breach of the PID Act? Did your senior adviser request that the whole 20-page PID document be faxed again or were you hiding again behind the "don't know, wasn't briefed, no-one told me" defence?

MS GALLAGHER: In my answers to questions in question time on the 3rd and 4th, I was answering those questions honestly, directly and in response to the way in which they were framed, which was whether I had received a copy of the public interest disclosure. I have not. I have never. I have certainly not received it from the person who has brought the public interest disclosure. As I said yesterday, there was a conversation between a CPSU organiser and an adviser. From my discussion yesterday with my adviser, it is not clear whether the CPSU organiser understood that it was a public interest disclosure. I have not had a conversation with that organiser.

Twelve pages of the fax arrived and it was indicated that it was a 43-page fax; so I do not know where you are getting your 19 pages or whatever. I have not viewed the fax. My adviser, I understand, did not ask for the fax to be sent. When it was clear to him from advice from the department that it could have been a public interest disclosure matter, he did not seek any more involvement in that matter, which was entirely appropriate in the interests of public interest disclosure.

The department briefed me. They said that a public interest disclosure matter had been sent to them. I do not know whether the public interest disclosure that Mrs Burke and the opposition have been reading from for the last two weeks has anything to do with the fax that came to my office. That shows how much I do not know about this matter and how much I should not know. It could be an entirely different matter. For all I know-

Mr Cornwell: No, it is not all that you don't know, is it?

Mr Smyth: The Sergeant Schultz defence.

MR SPEAKER: Order, members! The minister has the floor.


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