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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 7 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 1712..

Questions without notice

Ministerial code of conduct

MR STEFANIAK: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, your ministerial code of conduct states:

All Ministers are to recognise the importance of full and true disclosure and accountability to the Parliament. Under the ACT's Westminster-style system, the Executive Government of the ACT is answerable to the Legislative Assembly and, through it, to the people.

Last year, the estimates committee report stated that "the committee found many of Mr Hargreaves's responses unhelpful to its deliberations in the areas of housing, environment, sustainability and ACTION bus services". This year page 6 of the estimates committee report stated:

During the hearings of 26 June 2007, the Committee considers that the Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Mr Hargreaves, failed to act in accordance with the Code of Conduct in his dealings with the Estimates Committee.

Chief Minister, what actions will you take against Mr Hargreaves, under your code of conduct, for his continued failure to meet his responsibilities as a minister?

MR STANHOPE: I thank the Leader of the Opposition for the question. Indeed, the behaviour of all members of the Assembly—as measured against not just necessarily the code of conduct but also indeed other standards that both the Assembly and the community might aspire to or desire—is something that I am sure each of us from time to time reflects upon.

I would suggest that there is not a single member of this Assembly who has not, at some time or stage in their membership, had cause to reflect on his or her particular behaviour—whether in relation to a question answered or a position put, a speech made, a challenge hurled or an accusation made—and has not reflected on whether they might not have done it differently, better or otherwise. That goes for me. I am sure it goes for each of my colleagues and, most assuredly, for the Leader of the Opposition and for each of his colleagues.

We could go through a detailed consideration or assessment of the behaviour of each of us at different times in relation to different incidents. We could each point the finger. We could each cast a stone. We could, of course, reflect on the Leader of the Opposition's brush with the law: his abject journey to the police station to confess to his particular breach of the law in relation to his use of a telephone whilst driving his car. We could do that. We could go through all members of this place one by one if we chose.

In relation to the issue of standards, in relation to the issue of behaviour of each of us, there is occasion from time to time for each of us to reflect on our own behaviour—on the way in which we answer a question or the allegations that we hurl in the hurly-burly, in the heat of the moment, in the cut and thrust of what is essentially at times a hard and emotionally charged business that we are engaged in.

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