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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 3 Hansard (18 March) . . Page.. 1156..


MRS DUNNE (continuing):

to their staff is evidenced by the exodus from various offices upstairs. The exodus from the Chief Minister's office should be a matter of concern. Obviously staff there are getting sick of the Chief Minister waking up in a bad mood and insisting on ads being placed in the paper or the dispatch of the odd cranky letter.

If rumours are true, the disregard for Assembly staff by Labor members extends as far as the Prime Minister himself. According to what Mr Hargreaves tells me, Kevin Rudd has such disdain for the Labor staff that he is about to intervene to derail the preselection aspirations of at least one. Apparently, K Rudd bears a grudge to the extent that he would sabotage a rank and file preselection because that Labor staffer apparently stood up to him once. The Prime Minister has a track record for bearing a grudge. The case of the DFAT officer whose ambassadorial posting was vetoed by the Prime Minister is a standout example.

But ACT Labor's preselection is another case in point—or so Mr Hargreaves tells me. The question of the Labor preselection is an interesting one, and Mr Hargreaves is obviously a player. Understandably he is keen to promote his wife's chances by whatever means. He has spoken to me fairly often about what may or may not be going on inside and outside his faction. He tells me that a call will soon be made by the Prime Minister. Mr Hargreaves tells me that Kevin Rudd will pull the pin on the rank and file preselection. I presume the Prime Minister was involved in the national executive decision in favour of rank and file preselection only a few weeks ago, but it seems that some decisions are more binding than others.

So it is on for the young and old in ACT Labor. The calls are being made, the phones are running hot, the numbers are being counted and the commitments are being firmed up. I am wondering how committed Mr Hargreaves is to advancing his wife's cause in this race. Is he prepared to break all links with the fractured right faction to do a deal with the left, and what will the terms of the deal with the left be? On the grapevine I hear that Mr Hargreaves is willing to resign to make way for the return to the Assembly of Mick Gentleman in return for the left's support for his wife. That is one of the fascinating facets of this farrago on which Mr Hargreaves so far has not been so forthcoming with me.

MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER: I call Mr Seselja. I was just gobsmacked by that last harangue and I do apologise for my tardiness.

St Michael's primary school

MR SESELJA (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (4.27): Thank you, Mr Speaker. I just wanted to make mention of St Michael's primary School in Kaleen. A number of us had the opportunity to attend a breakfast there yesterday as part of Catholic Education Week in the territory. It was well attended by many parents, students and teachers. Principal Dave Austin did a wonderful job of hosting the morning. It was also well attended by local representatives, both federal and local, including my colleagues Mr Doszpot and Mr Coe. It was a testament to what a wonderful school community it is. I have been there on a number of occasions now and have always felt exceedingly welcome.


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