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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 06 Hansard (Tuesday, 22 June 2010) . . Page.. 2122 ..

that this should be the end of an occasion which has not brought a great deal of satisfaction to anyone, that we should learn from this experience and that witnesses need to know what the provisions and the rules of giving evidence are.

I understand the Speaker has written to chief executive officers and I understand that there are moves afoot to look at how we can better highlight the need for accurate information. There are provisions in other parliaments that clearly lay out the steps whereby sensitive information may be dealt with. I have expressed this view elsewhere but I think that we already have enough checks and balances. We have the capacity as committees to take evidence in camera and then it is up to those committees to decide how best to deal with that evidence.

I think that it is a timely reminder to members that we need to be as frank and forthright as possible and that, when we do make mistakes—and sometimes they are slips—irrespective of whether it is a slip or a misjudgement or in this case something which, by Mr Sullivan’s own admission, was a figure that he knew to have been updated, there is the requirement of this Assembly, as with all parliaments in the Westminster system, to correct the record at the first opportunity. And that did not happen. My main concern is that Mr Sullivan did not correct the record essentially at any stage and only begrudgingly made some admissions quite late in the piece when there was a privileges inquiry into it.

MR HARGREAVES (Brindabella) (11.59): What a screaming lot of hypocrisy we have just been treated to. When are people going to understand in this place that they cannot just stand up here under privilege and malign some of our senior public servants? This has been an absolute blatant case of relitigation of an issue that Mrs Dunne has absolutely and unqualifiedly lost.

Mr Sullivan has been exonerated by this committee, by this privileges committee. Mrs Dunne is the one who sought a kangaroo court, and, unfortunately for her, she did not get it. What she got was a duly constituted privileges committee. She did not get to put herself on it with a black handkerchief on her head—no. She got a duly constituted privileges committee, and that committee examined all of the evidence and heard from people and concluded that Mr Sullivan was fine. Not satisfied with this, Mrs Dunne has to get up and relitigate the whole lot. What an absolute screaming heap of hypocrisy is that?

Quite apart from the cowardly part of doing anything under privilege, an example of Mrs Dunne’s double standard is the fact that she would not stand outside this chamber and say exactly the same things about Mr Sullivan. If she did, she should send a photocopy of a picture of her house to Mr Sullivan, because he could certainly do with an extra property and he would get it, because she absolutely defames him in her comments in this chamber.

There is another inconsistency, however. Mrs Dunne stands up in this chamber and says that when officers come before committees they should be careful when they speak about the facts. Well, she has got it wrong more often than I know any other member appearing before committees.

Mrs Dunne: And I correct it if I make a mistake.

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