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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 10 Hansard (26 August) . . Page.. 4330..


MS GALLAGHER (continuing):

I do not know if that fax is subject to what you guys have got and what you have been talking about, nor do I know if it is subject to the public interest disclosure that is being investigated by the department. I certainly did not say that there were 12 pages of a fax outlining claims in detail. That, again, is a little bit of a flamboyant addition by the opposition to flesh out their point and try to make it a bit more interesting from my point of view, which is incorrect.

We get a number of complaints in my office. Ministers' offices are very busy offices, unlike those of the opposition, I imagine. We deal with a whole range of issues. I have a very large portfolio area. I have one senior adviser. That senior adviser has to be across all areas of that portfolio. I imagine he was busy. I do not think that it is unreasonable in the day-to-day dealings of a very busy minister's office to have a CPSU organiser ring up and say, "There is someone out there that has gone and had a chat to Jacqui Burke about a whole range of things. We will try to send you a fax, but I am having problems sending a fax."

A fax was sent. I have not read the fax, but my understanding is that the fax did not outline allegations against the department. There was a whole range of other matters canvassed in that. Then he sought advice in the appropriate fashion. He was made aware that it could have been a matter subject to public interest disclosure and that I would be briefed at the next opportunity, which I was on the Monday. At the briefing it was said, "Yes, there is a matter before the department and a number of other departments"-I think Totalcare and Procurement Solutions-"and it is not appropriate to brief you on this matter."

I do not know whether you want me to go backwards and forwards with it again. I have answered that. I think you have a problem with hearing the truth in answers; you just do not accept that what I am saying is the truth. You have been given a whole range of documents that, as usual, you accept to be the truth and for the last three weeks you have hurled very serious allegations into the public demain, allegations that should not be in the public domain, but you have chosen to make them extremely public, therefore, I believe, compromising the entire investigation. You attack a very worthy department and officers within that department who have not had any ability under any rules of natural justice to respond to some of the allegations that have been tossed around.

I cannot respond to them because of legal advice that says that it is a matter of public interest disclosure. How much more do you want me to answer in the way that I have been answering for the last three weeks? Leave it alone. It is a public interest disclosure. If there are problems at the end of it, I will report back to the Assembly and say what all the problems were, if they are substantiated, which at this point they have not been, and everyone will be the wiser for it. But your constant meddling and dripping of these allegations out into such a public domain are seriously compromising this investigation. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

Mrs Burke: I take a point of order, Mr Speaker, under standing order 55. A few minutes ago Mr Stanhope denied that he had said what he said. I quote from Hansard:

Mrs Burke-


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