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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 4 Hansard (4 May) . . Page.. 1220..


MR SPEAKER: I take your point of order seriously. Mr Stefaniak, be quiet. I couldn't hear him either.

Mrs Dunne: Could I ask that you ask the Chief Minister to withdraw the imputation that the Leader of the Opposition has lied. He used it twice in—

MR SPEAKER: Did you hear it?

Mrs Dunne: Yes, I did.

Mrs Burke: Yes, I did, too, and I was taking the point of order.

MR SPEAKER: Remarkable.

Mrs Dunne: He said, "If you lie, tell a whopper,"and then went on to say, "If you lie again—

MR SPEAKER: I do not think there was an imputation that Mr Smyth had lied. I think it was colourful language.

MR STANHOPE: Mr Speaker, I will repeat what I said and you can determine or rule on whether or not it was inappropriate. What I said was that I understood that the Liberal Party in the ACT had adopted a political rule book based, I understood—and I said in jest—on advice received from Idi Amin, and it reads thus: "Liberal Party rule book. Rule 1: if you're going to tell a lie, tell a whopper. Rule 2: if you paint yourself into a corner and you decide to lie to get out of it, refer to rule 1."There is no imputation. If the opposition, in immediately jumping to their feet and demanding retractions, feel that in some way this impugned the Leader of the Opposition, it seems to me that they have drawn conclusions that perhaps the evidence demands but which I did not draw. One is interested in the alacrity with which Mr Smyth's colleagues jumped to their feet to suggest that this was obviously impugning him, because, of course, I did no such thing. But it needs to be said that this is just the greatest outrage. The way in which this particular completely untrue allegation has been made and reported really is a very, very sorry story.

I will conclude on this point: a number of the people at that particular briefing have, of their own volition, contacted my office; others that were at the meeting have been contacted by my office. Not a single one will admit that they spoke to the Leader of the Opposition. Not a single one of them confirms the Leader of the Opposition's allegations in relation to this meeting. When this matter is concluded, I think it may need to be revisited in this place.

MR GENTLEMAN: I have a supplementary question. Chief Minister, how is it that the opposition leader could possibly come up with such a figure?

MR STANHOPE: The Leader of the Opposition came up with this number. There is only one explanation left. The only explanation of how it was that the Leader of the Opposition came up with this appalling allegation, this completely untrue suggestion, is that he uses the Liberal Party rulebook on issues such as this.


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