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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 13 Hansard (Thursday, 18 November 2010) . . Page.. 5708 ..


In summary, I commend the report to the Assembly. It has been an interesting inquiry and I hope that it will lead to an improvement in procurement practices in the ACT.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (3.57): I, too, hope that the report leads to some good outcomes in procurement in the ACT. Ms Le Couteur missed what is perhaps the most important recommendation—that is, recommendation 1. Members, I would suggest that you all read recommendation 1 because at some stage it will affect a committee that you may sit on. Recommendation 1 says:

The Committee recommends that the ACT Legislative Assembly’s Administration and Procedure Committee examine the Assembly’s procedures to devise a process to protect the integrity of the committee system with regard to witnesses and submitters making false or misleading statements under the protection of parliamentary privilege.

At the heart of this is the submission from the CFMEU secretary, Mr Dean Hall, and his presence before the committee. At that committee hearing Mr Hall made some very interesting statements—“accusations” might be a better word—about a local building firm. It seems that the statements were without fact and without basis, but it certainly did not stop Mr Hall then going on ABC radio the next morning when he continued to peddle the allegations.

It is important that when we, as the Assembly, feel that we have been let down by submitters or witnesses, there is a process by which we can take action over this. Unfortunately, we do not have some of the penalties or fines that are in place in other jurisdictions—or indeed, in some cases, even imprisonment. It is important that when people deliberately come before a committee and make statements they know that what they are saying is correct. If they come before a committee and make misleading statements—if they make statements which they discover to be incorrect—they must correct the record.

But if they are going to use the committee to peddle mistruths about another organisation, for whatever purpose, then we who sit there and take the evidence really do have an obligation to ensure that justice is done to those that have been let down by the system and, indeed, that those who would seek to use the committee system of the ACT are actually called to account for what they do.

I think members are well aware that Mr Hall attacked Manteena, a well-respected building firm in the ACT. If you doubt the quality of Manteena’s work, just go and see the new additions to the National Gallery of Australia which, having opened recently, is truly magnificent and a great piece of work. What was said obviously went to the CEO and Manteena as a firm and they then wrote to the committee. I will read a little bit of it:

We have now had the opportunity to review the Hansard transcript of evidence taken by the committee on Thursday 4 March, 2010.

While Manteena Pty Ltd was not present at this hearing, it wishes to bring to the attention of the Committee various matters of concern arising out of the evidence


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