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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 2 Hansard (4 March) . . Page.. 754..


MR STANHOPE: I ask leave to make a statement.

Leave granted.

MR STANHOPE: I am pleased to present the government's response to report No 4 2003 of the Standing Committee on Administration and Procedure on its inquiry into InTACT service provision in the ACT Legislative Assembly, which was presented to the Assembly on 20 November 2003. Members will be aware that this is the inquiry that resulted from the tapping by members of the opposition, out of the office of the Leader of the Opposition, of the computer in Mr Wood's office-one of the most outrageous incidents that we have experienced in the Assembly.

The fact is that the Leader of the Opposition's office was used to inappropriately access the mail of another member of this place. There is perhaps no more appalling indictment of a lack of standards than to allow that sort of activity to be pursued-and certainly to be pursued through the office of the then Leader of the Opposition.

Before I go on to the detail of the report, I believe it is worth noting that at no stage has the Leader of the Opposition, or anybody in the opposition, felt the need to apologise either to the Assembly or to the minister affected for the fact that the minister's mail was accessed and read. There is no more appalling invasion of privacy than that-the office of the Leader of the Opposition being used to read somebody else's mail. And this is the party that will not support the inclusion of the right to privacy in a bill of rights!

Mrs Dunne: On a point of order, Mr Speaker, I am trying to get some clarification. I thought this was a government response to an Assembly report. I am just flicking through the report to refresh my memory, but I do not recall any recommendation in this report that anyone needed to apologise to anybody. Is that the case?

MR SPEAKER: The minister is entitled to give a response to a report in the terms he wishes. This was an inquiry into the role of InTACT and, as far as I can make out, that is the subject matter of his response.

MR STANHOPE: Thank you, Mr Speaker-it is. This inquiry was generated out of the tapping of Mr Wood's computer and the reading of his mail. I think it is ironic that, in the week that we debate a bill of rights, we have an opposition that refuses to acknowledge the need for the protection of the right to privacy.

Mr Smyth: Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The Chief Minister has just asserted that Minister Wood's emails were tapped into. That is not true-that has never been an assertion.

MR SPEAKER: That is not a point of order.

Mr Smyth: The emails were inadvertently diverted to another office.

MR SPEAKER: It may well be a point of debate but that is a matter for later.


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