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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 6 Hansard (7 May) . . Page.. 2156..


MRS DUNNE (continuing):

actions by Mr Hanson's staff, all show how seriously this matter is taken. And I think that that has been borne out by the tone of the discussion from Mr Seselja this morning, the tone of the letter that he wrote to Ms Gallagher when she raised the matter with him, and the tone, which is: if anyone can shed more light on this matter that might indicate that somebody knows more than the Liberal opposition does, that might help the Liberal opposition find the person who created this site in the first place; it is incumbent upon them to come forward with that information.

I thought it was a little unfortunate that when the Deputy Chief Minister spoke yesterday she characterised the request from Mr Seselja—have you anything else that you could possibly give me to help me pursue this matter?—as interrogation. I do not think any reading of the tone or the words that Mr Seselja used in any way could be considered interrogation. It was an honest, straightforward attempt to ensure that Mr Seselja had all the information he could possibly garner so that, if it is possible to find out anything more about the person who created this site, it could be dealt with.

I think that it is most interesting that the Labor Party does not want to support Mr Seselja's amendment to the motion today, which is basically requiring all of us to behave in a civilized fashion. And it is about behaving and dealing with people in a way that we would expect to be dealt with so that we do not go in for the name-calling and the slagging, the cut and thrust of politics, that sometimes goes beyond the pale.

What we had today in Mr Seselja's amendment is a call to basically cool it. The response from Mr Corbell was: no, we do not want to cool it. And that was borne out, in fact, by the rather juvenile comments made by the minister for education and Minister for Planning in his so-called budget response speech where he came in with some fairly (a) juvenile and (b) catty, not very witty, remarks—at least Mr Hargreaves can do wit but Mr Barr does not know how to do wit—where he extolled bullying; he thought that it was all right to bully. It was sexist; it was misogynistic; all of the things.

Mr Hanson: Ageist.

MRS DUNNE: Ageist, all of those things. All of those things that Mr Stanhope, Mr Corbell and the Deputy Chief Minister had rightly complained about on this website were in fact perpetuated by Mr Barr. Mr Barr, if he wants the Labor Party to be taken seriously on this, needs to apologise and withdraw the comments that he made earlier this afternoon.

This is a serious matter. We take it seriously. I hope that all members of this place take it seriously and that this debate today is not just a ploy to distract the Leader of the Opposition on the day of the budget reply.

The timing of this is interesting. Ms Gallagher in the adjournment debate yesterday afternoon asked for an explanation. I was sitting in the leader's office at the time and he said, "I will address that tomorrow. It is a reasonable thing to ask; I will address it tomorrow."Lo and behold, we come down here and circulated is a motion requiring that that be addressed. It was done quite specifically because we were preparing—they knew that the leader would be preparing—to put together a 40-minute speech of some substance and some importance. But we have got bigger shoulders than that.


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