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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 7 Hansard (28 June) . . Page.. 2593..


Tuesday, 28 June 2011

MR SPEAKER (Mr Rattenbury) took the chair at 10 am, made a formal recognition that the Assembly was meeting on the lands of the traditional custodians, and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Statement by member

MR HARGREAVES (Brindabella), by leave: Mr Speaker, last Thursday evening, after I believe a week of some tension, I made a remark by way of interjection intended to amuse and not to inflict any offence or any hurt. But I did say something to a member and the member took offence to that remark as did her colleagues. I want the Assembly to understand that there was no offence intended, there was no hurt intended, but as an unintended consequence it did have that effect and I unreservedly apologise to the member. I am not going to name the member or restate the remark because that would just keep the thing alive.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra), by leave: Mr Speaker, I was the member and I was the member who took offence. I thank Mr Hargreaves for his apology but I think the context needs to be put on the record.

In the course of a debate Mr Hargreaves made a comment which was of a personal nature about my appearance. My understanding from what my colleagues saw, because I was in full flight and was only marginally aware of what he said, was that he lent forward and shared the joke with the Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister who both, I understand, laughed at the joke. I thank Mr Hargreaves for his apology but I also ask that the members who shared the joke also apologise.

This is a matter that raises issues about how we behave in this chamber. There has been a long record of personal attacks on members of the opposition of a very personal nature, going back to occasions when the previous Chief Minister called me a suppurating boil and to the "wog boy"attacks against Mr Seselja and Mr Doszpot. It goes back to a number of comments about people's personal appearance, about their hair colour or their haircuts et cetera.

I think that under the new leadership of a female Chief Minister it is time to stop the personal attacks. As a sign of how this Chief Minister proposes to go on, I expect an apology from her and her deputy because they also joined in the joke.

MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Minister for Health, Minister for Industrial Relations and Treasurer), by leave: Mr Speaker, I have offered an apology to Mrs Dunne. I have written to the Leader of the Opposition outlining an apology not only from Mr Hargreaves but also from myself as leader of the government. I agree with the comments Mrs Dunne has made around lifting the standard of debate and interjections in this place. I think the community expects better from us and I think if anyone goes back through the Hansard of last week and has a look at some of the tone of the interjections they will agree that the standard could be lifted in this place by all members.

In relation to Mrs Dunne's comment that I heard the joke and shared in the interjection, that is incorrect. I did not hear it. I went back and had a look at the


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