Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 8 Hansard (22 August) . . Page.. 2442..
MR STANHOPE (continuing):
Mr Stefaniak believes it appropriate that it be he who stands and casts a stone in relation to the behaviour of a member of the government. But he stands exposed for the hypocrisy of that position.
Having said that, the issue of the behaviour of members of the Assembly is a serious one. Certainly politicians, members of the Legislative Assembly—members of the government and members of the opposition—hold a particular place in society within this community. There are very high expectations of us as law-makers. That goes to the heart of any discussion around an appropriate response to a law-maker who is found to have breached the law, as in recent times Mr Stefaniak and Mr Hargreaves have jointly, together, each admitted that they have breached the law of the territory.
As law-makers, the people responsible for making that law and for upholding community standards and expectations, it behoves us to behave in a certain way. It behoves us not to break the law and it behoves us to always, in our behaviour, act appropriately and with the dignity the position demands. To the extent that each of us from time to time fails the community's expectations, and fail ourselves, it is a matter of enormous regret.
I have informed Mr Hargreaves of my expectations of him, and indeed of each of my ministers in relation to their behaviour. I would only hope that you, Mr Stefaniak, have either censured yourself or that your colleagues have had the same conversation with you in relation to their expectations of you, your behaviour and your obligation to meet the community's expectations and not to break the law. I have had a conversation. I have received undertakings from Mr Hargreaves. With whom did you make your undertakings in relation to your behaviour, Mr Stefaniak?
MR STEFANIAK: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. I would point out to the Chief Minister that I am talking about a later act than the one he mentioned. Chief Minister, why have you failed to discipline this minister when you warned him in June that there would be no further chances? Was it acceptable to abuse estimates committees?
MR STANHOPE: I find this almost a mind-boggling line of questioning by the Leader of the Opposition, to seek to upbraid and draw attention to the behaviour of members of the government. Mr Stefaniak, in your preamble to the question you raised an issue around the breach of a traffic law by Mr Hargreaves. So do not stand now and say, "Well, we were not talking about that,"because all of a sudden it brings some exposure onto your own behaviour. Do not say that we are not talking about the extent to which we have transgressed the law, we are talking about—
Mrs Dunne: All we are talking about is behaviour in estimates.
MR STANHOPE: We are saying now, "We are talking about behaviour in estimates,"but we prefaced the question around a reference to other behaviour involving the application of the law in a circumstance where Mr Stefaniak—and it was a humbling and embarrassing episode for Mr Law and Order—was filmed, no less, in breach of the law, and then seen to scuttle off and pay his fine and pretend it is all okay. As we all know—chuckle, chuckle—there is one rule for leaders of the opposition and another rule for everybody else, particularly law-abiding members of the community.