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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 12 Hansard (20 October) . . Page.. 3922..


MS MacDONALD (continuing):

indeed the crossbench—plays both in this place and on the admin and procedure committee, in making sure that the place runs smoothly. We know that the Clerk runs everything in here, so it will run smoothly anyway. But the role of the admin and procedure committee in advising you, Mr Speaker, is a vital role, and having the experience of somebody like Mrs Dunne along the way has made a significant difference. We would always have the argy-bargy over who was going to get what position on private members day, and ironically that seems to have been resolved just as you are leaving, Mrs Dunne—unfortunate but true.

In summary, I do hope that both the manager of opposition business and the opposition whip can start communicating with each other in order to assist the Assembly, and I thank Mrs Dunne for the role that she played.

MR HARGREAVES (Brindabella—Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Minister for Urban Services and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (11.22): I want to, firstly, thank Mr Smyth for accepting wise counsel. How long have we been here? Seven years? I am right now; I have lived long enough to see that happen, so I am ready to go. I have got some more wise counsel, however. Ms MacDonald alluded to some confusion in the ranks yesterday, with confusing messages. Confusing messages can come when you get two people talking about the same subject when they have not spoken to each other.

The Leader of the Opposition might consider merging the two jobs of whip and manager of opposition business. I believe that it has happened before. This amendment came and the backflip happened. Well, I am quite happy to wait while we get another amendment sheet that could reflect that. I think that is probably a good idea. Why do I think that a good idea? It is because when I was government whip, Mrs Dunne was just that—whip and manager of opposition business—and what we had was a consistency of conversation and communication. Sure, we had fights over things like pairs and the results of motions and things like that. But we served, I think, particularly well in a parliamentary sense, as parliamentarians, on the admin and procedure committee, and we had a good relationship and an honest relationship. If I can recall it correctly, the times when we had swords drawn were when one of us believed that the other had betrayed the trust. Such was not the case, but that was our understanding, and I think those were the only times when swords were drawn. Once those things were resolved, everything was cool again. So I just leave that thought with the Leader of the Opposition.

The other thing I want to make a point about is that there seems to be a bit of natural justice missing. The thing that concerns me is that I did not see a lot of natural justice in the manager of opposition business being asked to assume a load that should be carried by the whip. I see that Mr Smyth has fixed that, and I have to congratulate him on the speed of it all. But I am concerned at his actions in saying to Mrs Dunne that she was no longer the whip and no longer on this and that, because of x, y, and z.

If the gospel according to the Canberra Times is to be believed, the major plank was this leakage out of Mrs Dunne's office. Mrs Dunne was as quick as lightning in bringing the police into her office to check it out and to put some information on the table about that. I would have thought that a bit of natural justice would have applied and that the Leader of the Opposition would have waited until that investigation was over and then considered it.


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