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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 10 Hansard (24 August) . . Page.. 4032..

MS GALLAGHER (continuing):

correspondence had been forwarded to my office. A thorough check of the records was undertaken and no correspondence had been received.

On Tuesday, 20 July, the adviser had a discussion with the CPSU organiser, at which point it became clear that the person's name had been misspelt. So another check of the mail register and records of correspondence was undertaken. No record was found. On Tuesday, 20 July, during that conversation, I understand, the organiser said she would fax a copy of the allegations to my office. That fax was not received in full. Apparently, the first few pages of the fax were received.

Following the discussion, it became clear that it might be a public interest disclosure matter. My adviser sought advice from the department on about 23 July. The advice came back that the matter was subject to top confidentiality provisions of the Public Interest Disclosure Act. A brief confirming this advice was provided to me by the chief executive of the Department of Education and Training at a briefing on 26 July 2004.

At the time that it became clear it was a public interest disclosure, the adviser did the right thing-it would have been highly inappropriate to take any further action or for my office to be involved in any way-and sought the advice of the department. The advice was that there was a matter relating to public interest disclosure and that I could not be briefed on the matter.

MR STEFANIAK: A supplementary question, Mr Speaker. Thank you for that, Minister. Why did you say in this place on 3 and 4 August that you knew nothing about it? Why did you provide, effectively, false information to the Assembly, which you now seem to have corrected today, 24 August?

MS GALLAGHER: I have not in any way provided incorrect advice to the Assembly. I had not received the public interest disclosure; it has not been received by my office. The CPSU attempted to send a fax, which was never received by my office, apart from the first couple of pages, which were not to do with any of the matters that have been raised in this place by any member of the opposition. I am not aware of the issues that have been raised in the public interest disclosure. My actions have been correct all the way.

Another interesting fact is that, even if I had received the public interest disclosure, it would have been highly inappropriate for me to have involved myself in it anyway. That is a side point. That is something that you guys cannot push past; you are all obsessed with: did I receive it; and, if I did, what did I do to get involved in it?

Mrs Burke: That's the point.

MS GALLAGHER: That has been the nature of questions for the last two weeks. I can repeat, for members of the Assembly: I have not received the public interest disclosure; I have never received the public interest disclosure. Any allegation that I have is incorrect.

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