Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 07 Hansard (Tuesday, 28 June 2011) . . Page.. 2594 ..
Hansard. It does not appear in the written Hansard. I do not know what I was doing at the time but I did not hear the comment, nor did I share in any laughter around that. But certainly, as leader of the government, I agree we need to lift the standard of what is said in this place and I certainly apologise to Mrs Dunne for any offence.
MR COE (Ginninderra), by leave: I believe the reason the comment was initially withdrawn was because I had heard the comment from what must be nearly 10 metres away, and at the time of the comment I can explicitly remember the Chief Minister and the Deputy Chief Minister smiling and then cringing and turning to each other and cringing again. I can explicitly remember that and I find it extremely hard to believe that here I am 10 metres away and I heard it extremely clearly yet the Chief Minister and the Deputy Chief Minister, who were one metre away, are claiming they did not hear it.
At the time it was said I then responded, “You right, John? You’d better withdraw it. You know exactly what you said and have the guts to withdraw it.” Mr Hargreaves said, “Madam Deputy Speaker, I withdraw my comments about Mrs Dunne.” I said, “Was that hard?” Mr Hargreaves said, “There you are, are you happy now?” I said “Yeah, I am.” Mr Hargreaves said, “Well, all you’ve got to do, Alistair, all you’ve got to do is ask. You don’t have to go get all upset.” I said, “Better not to say it in the first place, John.” Mr Hargreaves said, “Oh mate, grow up. Past your bedtime I think.” I said, “Good on you, John. Have another drink.” Mr Hargreaves said, “Yeah, okay mate, grow up ... for God’s sake.” That is the incident as I recall it.
MR SESELJA (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition), by leave: Mr Speaker, this matter should not be treated in the way that it is being treated by the Chief Minister. The actions of Mr Hargreaves and his disgraceful slur on Thursday night should not just be treated in the way that they have been treated by Ms Gallagher both in this chamber and in her correspondence to me.
What Mr Hargreaves said was extraordinarily offensive. It was nothing like any of the other interjections that we hear in this place from time to time. It was in another category of its own. Mr Hargreaves trying to dismiss it just shows that he does not get it. This kind of behaviour is unacceptable. Unfortunately in public life we see a lot of unacceptable words thrown around. In the past when there have been those kinds of words thrown around about the Chief Minister, she has sought to blame me and others who had nothing to do with it. She sought to say that because there was a website somewhere it must be our fault.
Those words were disgraceful and they deserved to be condemned. But these words came from someone who sits on her team. These words came from Mr Hargreaves, who sits on her team, who is indeed her whip. He represents the Labor Party in this place as whip, and we have seen serial offending from Mr Hargreaves over a period of time to the extent that he was stripped of a ministry. Now we see a situation where the Chief Minister looks to say, “Look, this is our problem. We all need to do a little bit better.” I wrote to the Chief Minister because I took offence, because I clearly heard the language, Mr Coe clearly heard the language, and I saw members of the government share in this joke. So Mr Hargreaves made the disgraceful comments and other members of this team decided that that was funny. They decided that that was a