Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 10 Hansard (22 September) . . Page.. 4315..
2CC but they may have recorded my response in question time, as I understand radio broadcasters are able to do. I have not spoken to 2CC. The comments that were aired on that station and that I have seen in media monitoring would have been my statements in the Assembly yesterday.
MR SPEAKER: Thank you, Mr Barr.
MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra): Mr Speaker, I seek leave to make a statement under standing order 46 because I believe that I have been misrepresented.
MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mrs Dunne.
MRS DUNNE: On 4 September the Canberra Times ran a story about an incident of self-harm at the Bimberi Youth Detention Centre and I made comment for that story and subsequently, on 6 September, made broader comments on the issue, including to Radio 2CC.
It came to my attention that, in response to my comments, a member of Ms Burch's staff told Radio 2CC that my comments were "a blatant lie". This comment was broadcast at 5 pm on 6 September. I wrote to Ms Burch pointing out these unprofessional and defamatory comments and pointing out that MLAs are not allowed to use such language in the Assembly chamber and for one of her staff to make this comment in public and to have it broadcast is beneath all standards of reasonable public comment.
To remedy the situation, I asked for an immediate written apology as well as a written retraction of the comments to be sent to 2CC. In addition, I asked that the staff member concerned be counselled as to the standards required in public debate and their basic responsibilities as a ministerial adviser.
Ms Burch has not replied to my letter. Yesterday I wrote again to Ms Burch asking her for an immediate reply or I would bring this matter to the attention of the Assembly. Here we are without a response from Ms Burch rectifying this matter and nothing has been said that nothing I said about Bimberi was a lie, let alone a blatant lie. Most of the things were repeating the comments that Ms Burch had made.
The ministerial code of conduct requires the highest standards of probity, accountability, honesty, integrity and diligence. Further, the code says that ministers will deal with other members of the Legislative Assembly and members of the public and other officials honestly and fairly, with proper regard to their personal dignity, rights and entitlements. To comply with the code, Ms Burch needs to meet the remedies that I have asked for. I repeat them. I ask that she apologise for her staff member's unprofessional and defamatory statements and further ensure that a written retraction is sent to Radio Station 2CC and ensure that her staff is counselled about the appropriate professional behaviour in future.
MR SPEAKER: Ms Burch, do you wish to respond to this?
MS BURCH (Brindabella—Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Minister for Children and Young People, Minister for Ageing, Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Minister for Women): I will just make—