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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 10 Hansard (25 September) . . Page.. 3757..


MRS DUNNE (continuing):

is a pity that there is not a standing order against plagiarism. I will be writing to you on this matter. I will seek a ruling on whether such a thing is in order and whether we should allow it in future.

There are other standing orders about relevance that you wrote and spoke to, Mr Speaker. At one stage, when I took a point of order, you said that it was perfectly in order for the Chief Minister to give a political answer because the question had been of a political sort, and it invited a political response. I would have thought, Mr Speaker, that all questions on notice in this place were of a political nature.

Another exchange that I particularly enjoyed in question time was that occurring when Mr Smyth asked Mr Quinlan whether he stood by his statement about tourism funding, to which he answered, "No."I had to rely on my memory, but I think that is what he said-just the simple "No."There was no hedging, such as "That was the best estimate available at the time."

The thing is that, if we are talking about plagiarism, "no"has been a difficult word for the government this week. The Minister for Planning got himself into significant trouble by saying "no". As a consequence of his saying "no", we have had the first censure of a minister in this place, because he refused to comply with the instructions of the Assembly. It is not something that this Opposition does lightly. We do not employ it willy-nilly.

MR SPEAKER: It is highly disorderly to reflect on a vote of the Assembly, Mrs Dunne.

MRS DUNNE: Okay, I withdraw then.

This afternoon, Mr Speaker, we have the strange case of words attributed by the Chief Minister to an independent expert that do not appear to be the independent expert's words. Small wonder that the Chief Minister could not answer the ministerial code of conduct question, because we really do not have any ministerial code of conduct in this place.

It seems to me that, if we are serious for a moment, there is a pattern emerging here-a view that the members opposite, on the government benches, are not really accountable to the Assembly or anyone else, at least this side of the election. They do not have to comply with instructions or answer questions if they do not feel like it and, if they do not like what somebody else proposes, they can amend it and claim it was all their own work. We may have to use the next sitting as an opportunity to test this theory.

Internet-use at schools

MS GALLAGHER (Minister for Education, Youth and Family Services, Minister for Women and Minister for Industrial Relations) (6.11): I just want to comment on the issue that Mr Stefaniak raised in the adjournment debate earlier this evening, to explain the action that has been taken since the event occurred at the school.

It is very important to have on the record the fact that no website containing offensive material was accessed. A situation occurred in which a search engine was used which produced results containing offensive words, but the children involved were not provided


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