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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 10 Hansard (Thursday, 22 September 2011) . . Page.. 4357 ..


MRS DUNNE: You can contend that and you can interject if you like, but if you read the plain words, the plain words are almost an exact replica of the things that were said in the letter from Ms Le Couteur to you, Mr Speaker, which was endorsed by a majority of members in this place by establishing a privileges committee. And that is what this is about. This government has been squirming all week. This government, under the leadership of Katy Gallagher, who was going to be Ms Openness and Accountability, stumbled at the first hurdle.

Mr Hargreaves: A point of order, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Yes.

Mr Hargreaves: With the clock.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, stop the clocks, thank you.

Mr Hargreaves: You have asked us in the past not to make those asides, those disparaging asides. Mrs Dunne has just said “Ms Openness”. That is a disparaging aside, Mr Speaker, and I would ask you to ask Mrs Dunne to desist from that, please.

Mr Seselja: On the point of order, Mr Speaker, I find it remarkable, but you have ruled already in this debate that making unfounded allegations about Mr Smyth by Mr Barr are in the bounds. And Mrs Dunne has just quoted Ms Gallagher’s words about herself. I fail to see how that could possibly be ruled out of order.

Ms Gallagher: Mr Speaker, on the point of order, I think you have made rulings in this place about using member’s appropriate names when referring to them, and “Ms Openness”, or however Mrs Dunne referred to me, is not my appropriate title in this place.

MR SPEAKER: There is no point of order at this stage. I think the nature of the debate today has been such that Mrs Dunne sits within the bounds of it at the moment.

MRS DUNNE: Just to make things perfectly clear, I am quite happy to withdraw and say that Ms Gallagher has set herself up in this place as the doyenne of accountability and openness, and she stumbled at the first hurdle. At the first opportunity she had to make a statutory appointment, probably one of the most important statutory appointments you can make in the territory, she got it wrong. And she got it so wrong that a majority of the committee who were supposed to sign off on this felt that she had interfered with it and that, if it was not addressed, it could create a precedent of great seriousness. “If regarded as a precedent and repeated,” the committee said, “it would cause substantial interference with the scrutiny and oversight role that parliamentary committees have on behalf of the Legislative Assembly with regard to the process of statutory appointments.”

So the doyenne of openness and accountability failed to such an extent that the committee said that this was an unfortunate precedent and it needed to be addressed. Mr Smyth did nothing more than go out into the community and say what he had said


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