Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 06 Hansard (Tuesday, 6 June 2006) . . Page.. 1757 ..
We talk about my judgment. Here we have a brand new Leader of the Opposition supported exclusively and entirely. There are no press releases out there from the Liberal Party or individual members of the party saying that there is a price to pay and it is not enough just to go to the police station and pay the fine. That is not enough. That is last year’s standard.
This year’s standard is to grin and bear it and see your way through it because you are a politician. You are elite; you are powerful. But if you are not powerful in this place or within this community, then we would expect a different standard of you. You have to go. You have to be humiliated. You have to be rubbished. You have to be driven onto the dole, which is what you did. You drove him onto the unemployment market. That is what you did. You drove him onto the street. Yet here you are, sitting complacently, laughing and sniggering and saying that it does not apply to you.
The then Leader of the Opposition is on the record about behaviour that will not be tolerated. Mr Smyth said that MLAs and staff are told that improper behaviour cannot be tolerated in the Liberal Party. That was the standard of the then Leader of the Opposition: MLAs and staff know that improper behaviour will not be tolerated; they will be sacked. That is the Liberal Party’s standard—until, of course, it applies to one of them.
It is interesting to go back to Mr Smyth’s statements of the time. In a press release of 14 April he said that any member of the Liberal Party, MLA or staff, would be sacked for any improper behaviour. That was the standard Mr Smyth was prepared to apply, and so it goes. If one listens to the debates and reads the transcripts of 2CC, the ABC and the television stations and looks at the press releases and reads the Hansard, the standard is: drive this young, inexperienced, junior adviser onto the dole for a property crime. But when it comes to a serious criminal driving offence by the Leader of the Opposition, turn your back and ignore it. It does not count anymore.
Mr Smyth’s standard that no behaviour of this sort will be tolerated in the Liberal Party is, all of a sudden, forgotten. Mr Stefaniak’s assertion in the media, in this place and in his press releases that it is intolerable that the Chief Minister did not sack this staffer does not apply anymore to Mr Stefaniak. But, of course, he is caught up in the middle of this.
Is it not ironic that, just one week before Mr Stefaniak’s offence, the shadow minister for police railed at the role of the police and the lack of safety on our roads? Mr Pratt said that recent reports in relation to road accidents detailed an alarming trend. He called on the government to place a greater priority on road safety. This was on 8 May, a week or so before the infamous offence. A month ago Mr Pratt said:
I am concerned that this—
alarming trend on the roads—
may be due to the lack of police presence on our roads …
No. It is the result of the presence of the Leader of the Opposition on the roads.