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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 12 Hansard (Thursday, 28 October 2010) . . Page.. 5270 ..

The problem here is that Mr Corbell, again in his way, describes it as some sort of fig leaf. Let us make it very simple. Crispin Hull gets a financial benefit from the Canberra Times. Whether he is employed or not is an irrelevant consideration. If the Canberra Times does not get its advertising dollar, Crispin Hull does not get paid. It is in his interests to do everything he can to assure that advertising revenue. That is a conflict of interest. It is as simple as that.

Mr Corbell laughs. This is, of course, Mr Corbell who has voted against reforms to poker machine licences and who does not see that he has a conflict of interest in receiving money from problem gamblers when he is a legislator, a regulator and a moaner all at the same time.

Mr Corbell: Relevance.

MR SMYTH: Relevance? It is entirely relevant. If you do not understand the argument, perhaps you should look at yourself. The problem for those opposite —

Mr Corbell: The only person who understands your arguments is you.

MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER: Minister, please! I have been a bit tough on the opposition and I think you can help me out a bit here, thank you.

MR SMYTH: I am disappointed. I thought there was a warning coming but there are no warnings for that side either. I forgot about that.

MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER: Do not hold your breath.

MR SMYTH: It is a decision for this place. It is a two-thirds majority. Everybody talks about consultation. Everybody talks about getting a briefing, except when they do not get the outcome that they want. And it is a very hypocritical approach by some in the way they go about business in this place. It is unfortunate.

This bill was put forward to clarify the situation and ensure that we did not have this conflict of interest. It was put forward to ensure that there was no advantage gained by the government in the use of their advertising and it was put forward to ensure that taxpayers got the best out of their taxpayers’ spend. It should be that way. It was put forward that there be a two-thirds majority. That was passed by this place. And in that two-thirds majority you have to get that agreement.

If, in the way that you look at the bill, you cannot read this into it, then you need to go back and read the bill perhaps with more clarity. But it does imply that there must be a coming together of the Assembly to ensure that this occurs. That involves consultation and agreement. We can do it here on the floor of the Assembly or we can do it by discussions and working through a process.

If people do not like that, they can change the legislation. That would be a very bad reflection on this place if we just changed legislation to get the outcome that we wanted because we did not like having a process.

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