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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 9 Hansard (20 September) . . Page.. 2997..

MS MacDONALD (continuing):

made some comments that I think it is important to address. I think what Mrs Dunne said was that contingent approval had been given for—

Mrs Dunne: That was the word I used to you and your staff on a number of occasions: c ontingent.

MS MacDONALD: I believe that is what she said earlier today, Mr Speaker. I did have a conversation with Mrs Dunne yesterday. I do not deny that. We had a conversation about the fact that Mr Barr was unwell and that Mr Corbell was also not going to be in. I was asked who would be representing the government at the riesling challenge. I have to say that I was surprised when Mrs Dunne asked me that because it was my understanding from conversations with my staff, having been away myself, that the approval was not given.

Mrs Dunne has not actually put any of this in writing so I have to go on what my staff have said to me. Last Thursday, 14 September, my staff sent this advice to Mr Barr's office: "I have chased this up with Vicki several times, but have since been informed that no pairs will be granted until a decision regarding the chair of the legal affairs committee is made."It was my understanding, and certainly the understanding of my office, that no pairs would be granted until such time as the chair of the legal affairs committee had been resolved. When I spoke to Mrs Dunne yesterday, the chair of the legal affairs committee had still not been resolved because caucus had not met at that time, so it was not resolved.

It was certainly my understanding that the pairs had not been granted. I also suggest that Mrs Dunne would be a bit naive to think that the government could operate on the basis that we could have ministers attend functions and have speeches prepared with an hour's notice that a pair was being granted. We were operating under the assumption that the pair was not granted—

Mrs Dunne: Because you do not know what "contingent"means.

MS MacDONALD: The pair was not granted, Mrs Dunne. You may say that it was actually on a contingent basis, but the fact is we could not operate on the basis that, at the end of the day, you might say no, and then we would not be able to go. You claim to have been misrepresented but the fact is, Mrs Dunne, that we were operating on the basis that you had not approved the pairs—

Mrs Dunne: Because you do not understand English.

MS MacDONALD: You had not approved the pairs. I just thought it was important to make that distinction in this place and set the record straight.

Legislative Assembly members—pairs

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (6.04): Mr Speaker, pursuant to standing order 213, I move:

That the document quoted from by Ms MacDonald be tabled.

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