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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 18 February 2015) . . Page.. 446 ..


was a one-off incident and, if that was the case, the circumstances of that incident. That this could happen at all is a serious matter and warrants an independent investigation.

The potential mixing of personal interests with ministerial responsibility could make this matter all the more serious. The lack of transparency is deeply concerning and only a full and independent inquiry will reassure our community that our working with vulnerable people checks system is robust and properly complied with at all times and that our schoolchildren are protected, which is what parents quite rightly and reasonably expect when they send their children off to school each day. I commend the motion to the Assembly.

MS BURCH (Brindabella—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for Disability, Minister for Racing and Gaming and Minister for the Arts) (10.55): It goes without saying that I think that this motion is absolutely the lowest of the low. Mr Hanson and the Canberra Liberals have shown themselves as wanting to politicise, at any cost, something on which there are questions. They have been responded to. Menslink have made that very clear in their statement.

Mr Hanson stood and spoke about ethics and integrity. Today he has shown that he does not understand what ethics and integrity are. I could have put a call out. We have seen in this place that Mr Hanson has no boundaries on a personal attack and the lengths to which he will go for a cheap political point. We know that. We see it here. But I think this week, over these last few days, it has hit a new low, to the point that I would say that if you took my name and my son’s name out, they would not have the same heightened piousness that they have over there.

He has made mention that I launched the silence is deadly program. I think it was in 2012, 2013. Yes, I did. It is a fabulous program. Let us reflect on what the silence is deadly program is. It is about going into schools, getting young men that are troubled, in difficulty, to seek help. It is fairly well accepted in the community that men do not talk about their problems. That is the idea of men’s sheds. Silence is deadly is going into schools and talking to young men about seeking help. My son volunteered for that and he shared his journey of despair and self-help and recognised that when you are at that level of despair the best thing you can do is to put your hand out, seek help and help yourself at the time.

Did I give silence is deadly and Menslink an award? Absolutely. I have done it and I will do it tomorrow, next week, next year, because they are a worthy organisation and a worthy program. And I am a little anxious because at the Multicultural Festival, on behalf of CONTACT Canberra I handed an award out to ACT Policing. They won the best stall award. Is that a problem? Can I not now participate in and recognise good community organisations because I may have a conflict of interest?

Mr Hanson has also said that members here should be responsible for their actions. Absolutely. Every member of the Canberra Liberals ought to be responsible for their actions today. However they dress it, they have sought the most vile, nastiest political attack on me and my family.


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