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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 03 Hansard (Tuesday, 30 May 1995) . . Page.. 530 ..


The other factor that comes into a general decision on this motion, Mr Speaker, is the nature of the legislation. It is designed - we designed it appropriately in this Assembly - to resolve problems rather than to apportion blame. I wonder whether at the end of the process a Minister who stood aside would then be able to sit back and say, “The problem has been resolved”. It is not a case of blame being apportioned and whether the person would therefore be in an appropriate position to take a place in the ministry again. The nature of this legislation is such that an allegation under it is quite different from a criminal charge that might be laid in other circumstances.

Mr Speaker, what I am trying to suggest is that this is not an easy issue to deal with. There are some very good arguments on both sides of the issue. I find in the Assembly that it is always the case that the most difficult issues to deal with are not those where you stand for something you believe in; where, even though 80 per cent of people may be against you, you genuinely believe that something is right and you go for it. Those are not difficult issues to deal with. The difficult issues to deal with are those where there are very good arguments on both sides and it is a very fine line. In the end, Mr Speaker, whilst if I had been in Mr De Domenico’s circumstances I probably would have decided to stand aside, I think it is for the Chief Minister to decide how she sets the tone of her Government, and that is what I am going to allow her to do.

MS TUCKER (11.47), in reply: Mr Humphries and Mr Moore have both been curious about what they saw as our timing here. Maybe we do not quite understand the processes, but we were under the impression that there was a suppression order. It was said that it was well known who the person was and that we could have raised this issue before. It was not well known to us who the person was. I do not take a lot of interest in gossip. I have never asked anyone in particular who the Minister was. Because it has become public, we feel a responsibility to say what we believe is important in the issue of ministerial behaviour in this sort of situation.

We have been contacted by many people on several aspects of this issue. One of them is what a Minister should do and what a Chief Minister should do in this situation. We feel that there is a responsibility in this place to make clear to the people of the ACT what we believe is appropriate in this sort of situation. We have made it quite clear what the Greens see as appropriate. We agree that it is a complex issue, as Mr Moore said; but we have our view.

It was said several times that we have misunderstood processes. Perhaps there are some we have misunderstood, but I also think we have a different view from you on particular issues. There is legal argument about precedents anyway. The position is obviously not clear. Even if it were, I do not understand why as newcomers to this place we cannot say strongly as representatives of our constituency, many of whom have contacted us, what they see as appropriate behaviour. Our motion uses the word “urges”. We are not speaking about a no-confidence motion. The idea of our motion was merely to make very clear our view of appropriate behaviour by the Chief Minister and Mr De Domenico, and I believe that that is what we have done.


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