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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 24 February 2010) . . Page.. 685 ..

What did he ask? How did he exercise his ministerial responsibility? How did he use the obligation placed on him by being a minister to better the people of the ACT? He did not do anything. He did not ask the question. You can assume that it is because either he did not want to know or he just did not care. He came down to this place with the fairy floss of “no information, no briefings, no document”. That is all it was: fairy floss.

The minister said, “I was not informed by officials that they possessed any documents relating to the commonwealth insulation installation program.” In the Assembly, that became “there are no documents:, The minister needs to tell us if he asked a question. Did you ask, “Were there documents?” Did you find out before you misled the Assembly in this way so that you had to come down to this place and apologise? If you did not then your apology is a farce and your explanation is worse than a mislead.

The problem is that the minister has signed up to the ministerial code of conduct that Jon Stanhope has put in place. It says on page 2:

Ministers should take reasonable steps to ensure the factual content of statements they make in the Assembly are soundly based and that they correct any inadvertent error at the earliest opportunity.

Mr Corbell is no blushing violet. He does not come in here and wilt under pressure. He stood up here and there he was thumping the table. “There are no meetings. There are no documents.” He said it like it was a fact. He said it like it was for real.

The problem for people who would seek to believe this government or believe this minister is that he made it up, and there is nothing in his correction or his apology to say that he made it up. He came into this place and he blamed the public servants. He uses cowards’ castle: hide behind the human shield of the public servants.

He said: “I was briefed. I am not going on the radio in the morning. I will send Andrew Barr out.” You know: a bit of a giggle; there is a trap. Andrew coughed up that there were documents, that there was a coronial inquiry. “There is some sort of judicial inquiry going on, I think.” The only judicial inquiry could be a coroner’s inquiry, because the Coroners Act investigates death and fires, and it is automatic. So there is Mr Barr putting his foot in it, because Mr Corbell was not brave enough to go on the radio. But let us read the paragraph as it is quoted. It is the letter that we all got. It says: “The advice that I received related to a meeting that occurred between officials from the Australian Government and the states and territories. I was informed that the meeting took place in late April 2009 and was attended by a relatively junior officer. I was not briefed about the meeting prior to 11 February 2010. I was not informed by officials that they possessed any documents relating to the Commonwealth insulation installation program. The information provided by me to the Assembly on 11 February 2010 was based on the information provided to me by my Department.” Officials did not tell me that they had or did not have any documents, which I then told you guys meant that there were no documents.

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