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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 10 Hansard (26 August) . . Page.. 4325..


MRS DUNNE: Mr Speaker, I ask a supplementary question. Minister, why are the ACT taxpayers paying the $15,000 for the distribution of this document rather than ACT Labor?

MR CORBELL: It is a government document, Mr Speaker.

Department of Education and Training

MRS BURKE: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Minister for Education and Training. On 22 October 2003 a senior officer in your department was made aware of serious allegations of maladministration in your department. Your then chief executive was told of them in November 2003. On 4 August 2004 you stated:

The department knows that, where there are incidents that should be brought to my attention, they are brought to my attention.

Why is it that you have claimed repeatedly that you knew nothing about these serious allegations before August 2004, when your department was told in October 2003-

Mr Quinlan: Mr Speaker, I wish to raise a point of order. This question has been asked before, on numerous occasions. I ask that you rule it out of order.

MR SPEAKER: I do not think so.

MRS BURKE: I will repeat that. Minister, why is it that you have claimed repeatedly that you knew nothing about these serious allegations before August 2004, when your department was told in October 2003, several months before a PID was made? How can this be the case, when you claim that your department knows to bring important issues to your attention?

MS GALLAGHER: Obviously, I have not made myself clear in probably the last 10 answers to the variations of this question. The department of education is very large, as everyone would know, with a large number of employees coming into contact with perhaps nearly every family in the ACT in some way. It is not unusual for departments to deal with complaints against services they offer and for those complaints not to be brought to the attention of the minister.

There is a complaints handling procedure within the department. There is a policy on the website. Everyone is aware of that and it certainly does not include a role for the minister. Nor does it mean that every complaint brought to the attention of the department is brought to my attention. Between my office and the department we have a process in place where they are aware of issues that need to be brought to my attention. If issues are brought to my attention from outside the department, then I would bring them to the attention of the department.

I have not seen any documents that Mrs Burke keeps referring to-correspondence from 22 October and correspondence in November 2003 between bureaucrats and, obviously, a complainant. It seems to me that, if those were documents that led to a public interest disclosure, at the time they were brought to the attention of the department they were


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