Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 06 Hansard (Tuesday, 6 June 2006) . . Page.. 1756 ..
offence that did not offend anybody, except perhaps their sensibility, and did not risk their lives—injury—but the Leader of the Opposition says that the community is rightly angered that the Chief Minister would not sack this junior, non-powerful member of staff. We go on then with a platitude: there cannot be two standards, one for the Labor Party and members of staff of Mr Stanhope and one for the rest of the community. In fact, this was a position put long and loud by the then Leader of the Opposition when he used precisely the same standard and the same language. The then Leader of the Opposition, one Mr Smyth, said:
One has to question the Chief Minister’s judgement. He just does not seem to understand that his former adviser committed criminal acts.
What do we understand about the Leader of the Opposition? Mr Smyth then goes on to say, “One has to ask: what sort of standards does Jon Stanhope have that his adviser wasn’t sacked?’ Mr Smyth concludes:
It is clear that those who occupy a place in the Labor family can expect to receive different treatment from the Chief Minister than ordinary citizens would receive.
MR SPEAKER: Order! The minister’s time has expired.
MR GENTLEMAN: I ask a supplementary question. Chief Minister, how do Mr Stefaniak’s comments of 12 months ago in relation to lands act employees contrast with his comments and actions in recent times in respect of his use of a mobile phone while driving?
MR STANHOPE: It is interesting how they contrast. We can go through the comments of the Leader of the Opposition and his colleagues, the entire bench, at the time in relation to the need for a junior member of staff who has committed a property offence to be sacked—
Opposition members interjecting—
MR STANHOPE: To be sacked, not that he actually face the law, not that he get his just desserts, not that the law be allowed to pursue its course, but that he be sacked, that he be no longer employed, that he be publicly humiliated, that he be thrown onto the dole. That is the standard. A junior member of staff must be sacked for committing a minor property crime. But when the Leader of the Opposition, the shadow Attorney-General, commits a crime that increases the possibility of actual death four-fold, really he can just laugh and shrug and say, “Oh, well. There is a different standard for me. I’m a powerful politician. I’m the Leader of the Opposition. I’m the shadow Attorney-General.”
Sack those young non-powerful junior advisers that commit property offences but hang in there yourself. It is interesting to ponder this double standard, this hypocrisy. One can perhaps forgive, as one does, these minor transgressions of the law. What one cannot forgive is this appalling hypocrisy and double standard, where you hound out of this place a young member of staff and refuse to apply to yourself the same standard. Your colleagues sit there and support you. Like Mr Smyth, they bayed for his blood.