Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 5 Hansard (1 April) . . Page.. 1741..
MR SMYTH (continuing):
she misled the Assembly yesterday about statements that I had supposedly made or things I had supposedly done. At that time I did thank the Treasurer; it takes a lot of courage to come down and apologise and correct the record. What she did was the correct thing and, after she finished, I thanked her for that apology.
I have listened again to the tape and the withdrawal seems to be qualified. I have sought other information and I will go through the records, because, as she apologised and corrected one mislead, she has made some statements that give me some concern. So I just want to put on the record that I do thank her for the apology, but the form of this place is not to qualify the withdrawals when you do it in that way.
But in question time yesterday when Ms Gallagher was making these statements, she was being egged on by Mr Barr. Mr Barr, we noticed today, lacked a great deal of courage—not turning up for interviews, going for coffee instead, making the racist slur that he did from the government benches in the security of this place. But yesterday when Ms Gallagher was making the words that were incorrect, I recall Mr Barr saying things like "you are out there lying; you don't tell the truth; it's always the spin"—the standard stuff we expect from Mr Barr.
Ms Gallagher, to her credit, had the courage to come down and apologise and I think it is important that Mr Barr do also. I have relistened to the tape and I think it behoves Mr Barr to also come and apologise, because he was clearly wrong as well. It is very important; indeed, the ministerial code of conduct requires ministers where they are wrong to come down to this place at the first opportunity and correct the record. So, in that regard, well done, Ms Gallagher. Mr Barr, you need to also come down and apologise to this place and to me.
Legislative Assembly—legal advice
Mr Andrew Barr
MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (6.52): I want to touch on the same subject that Mr Corbell has touched on. I thought that it was interesting today in the debate to see Mr Corbell's reaction. First of all, there is a fairly inconsistent approach to the view about legal advice. It is useful from time to time to reflect on the number of occasions that members in this place have called on Mr Corbell and other ministers—but I reflect on Mr Corbell—to provide legal advice and they have said, "No, no, we can't do that; it is privileged."There was one case in the Fifth Assembly where Mr Corbell was eventually forced to provide a legal advice, but it was done in such a constrained way that it was kept in the Clerk's safe for the term of the Fifth Assembly and members could come and view it but not take notes. So members have been forced to do things that they do not like.
I also thought that it was interesting to reflect upon Mr Corbell's reaction, both in the debate today in response to Mr Smyth and in his comments this evening about directions from the Assembly. We have seen a new doctrine here today. He has put it out there fairly much that he basically dares the non-Labor members of the Assembly to direct him or his colleagues to do anything. The clear message is: if you do, we will disobey you.