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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 6 Hansard (7 May) . . Page.. 2077..


MR SESELJA (continuing):

(3) will apply appropriate disciplinary action against anyone identified as conducting any such activities.".

MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Minister for Transport, Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Minister for Business and Economic Development, Minister for Indigenous Affairs and Minister for the Arts and Heritage) (12.21): I wish simply to reinforce the opinions and the position expressed on behalf of the government by the minister, Mr Corbell, just now.

This has been an incredibly sorry episode in relation to relationships within this Assembly. I believe that in my time in this Assembly—now 11 years—I have never before witnessed such a dreadful attack on the character of a member of this place. It is, I think, the most cowardly and the most outrageous personal attack ever on a member of this place. That the Deputy Chief Minister, the Treasurer and the Minister for Health should have been characterised in the way that she has through this fraudulent defamatory Facebook and that the Facebook was allowed to persist with the knowledge of a significant number of at least the staff, if not the members, of this place all within the Liberal Party is an indictment of the Liberal Party.

It is incontrovertible that members of staff of the Liberal Party had access through links to this site and were aware of it. That significant numbers of members of staff of the Liberal Party were invited to join the page and that many accepted that opportunity is proof incontrovertible of the awareness broadly within the Liberal Party of the existence of this fraudulent defamatory, offensive, degrading site.

I think it is a reflection on the honour and integrity of the Leader of the Opposition—the Liberal Party—that it was not until today, just now, in the face of a motion moved by the leader of government business in the Assembly that the Leader of the Opposition took the opportunity to repudiate the views expressed on that fraudulent, defamatory Facebook to which his party is so closely linked.

He has done it now, and it is this point, of course, that the deputy Chief Minister went to yesterday in a speech seeking a response from the Liberal Party in relation to this outrageous defamation—that the Liberal Party, through its leader, had not taken the opportunity to repudiate the views expressed on the site, that he simply went missing, became silent, rejected invitations for interview from the media and journalists in relation to the issue and, through his silence, implicitly condoned the site.

This is an incredibly deeply disturbing and nasty episode in the life of this Assembly. It does reflect any honour or integrity on the Liberal Party for the way that they have handled the matter. For the Leader of the Opposition today to advise the Assembly, as he just has, that he had no documentation to support the fact that he undertook an inquiry, of itself, speaks volumes. There are no documents—

Mr Seselja: The party didn't.

MR STANHOPE: The party. Well, I am sure that if there were documents or if there was actual proof and a formal, rigorous process had been adopted in relation to this,


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