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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 18 February 2015) . . Page.. 435 ..


MADAM SPEAKER: Mr Corbell raised this with me the other day. Perhaps I was not being attentive, but I will uphold the point of order. I ask members to refer to people by their title and their surname or by their portfolio title.

MR HANSON: Madam Speaker, the failure to conduct a full and independent inquiry would be a failure in leadership by this Chief Minister. It would ultimately fail Menslink. It would fail our schoolchildren. It would fail this Assembly. It would fail our community. I seek members’ support for this very important motion calling for a full and independent inquiry.

MR BARR (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Urban Renewal and Minister for Tourism and Events) (10.19): The government will not be supporting Mr Hanson’s vicious motion today because the facts do not support his assertions. It is a matter of great sorrow, Madam Speaker, that I have to speak today on this motion. It is not sorrow for myself; it is sorrow for this place and sorrow for how low this Leader of the Opposition has brought this place.

It was not that long ago that the Liberal Party was led in this place by people of real character. I do not often agree with Gary Humphries, but as this side and that side argued about how Canberra could be a better place, at least we all knew that was why we came into this place—that is, because we loved it and we wanted to make it better. What we have seen in the last week from this Leader of the Opposition is a failure of character, and that is distressing for this place. It is incredibly distressing for the Burch family, but it is even more distressing for what it means for politics in this city.

I will put some facts on the table. Having seen the statement issued by Menslink and emailed to every member of this place this morning that addressed this issue and all the unresolved questions, all the wild accusations and all the outrageous assertions made in the last 24 hours—led by Mr Hanson and his colleagues—I would have thought Mr Hanson would have had the good grace to drop this grubby motion today, but no. This man failed the character test this morning.

Ms Lawder: A point of order, Madam Speaker.

MADAM SPEAKER: Stop the clock, please.

Ms Lawder: I ask Mr Barr to withdraw the term “grubby”. It has been ruled unparliamentary in the past.

MADAM SPEAKER: I do not uphold the point of order. It is an adjective describing emotion; it does not describe the person. I contemplated that when Mr Barr said it, and I do not uphold the point of order.

MR BARR: Thank you, Madam Speaker. It is worth putting on the record what Menslink have said today. Their chair has written the following in response to the Canberra Times article and to the outrageous accusations from those opposite yesterday:


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