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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 03 Hansard (Thursday, 22 March 2018) . . Page.. 991 ..


that a look at the full transcript is useful. I think that looking at the whole debate in its context is useful.

But I would refer members to the Clerk’s advice with regard to the threat that was made by Mr Barr. As the Clerk says in his advice, the second exchange refers to “a threat to have you removed from your role as Chair”. That was what the threat was about, and that is why we are here today. I just want to make it very clear, following Mr Barr’s comments, that the threat that he made was to me and the advice on that is that the threat was to remove me from my position as chair. Regardless of the words about taking me outside or defamation or whatever it might be, the advice that we have received is that the threat that was made was to have me removed as chair. And that is the nub of the question and that is the point there.

With regard to the language that was used, context is always important, as you would appreciate, Madam Speaker. I think there was a debate earlier this week where there was a comment about a word—and I think the word used was “bias”—being not in and of itself unparliamentary but, used in certain contexts, it is. The context is very important.

What I would like to do is actually refer to what Ms Le Couteur said before lunch, I think it was, which is very important because Ms Le Couteur was in the room. I do not think Ms Le Couteur would be saying this in my favour or, indeed, in Mr Barr’s favour. She was reasonably objective and dispassionate about what she saw. This is her observation that led to Mr Barr’s threat to having me removed as committee chair:

In terms of the particular instance, the first part of the exchange involved Mr Hanson saying words around, “You’re getting the money.” But he was saying this to a person who is the Chief Minister and Treasurer of the ACT. I think that, in that context, what he meant was abundantly clear, particularly as the Chief Minister on a number of occasions asked him to clarify. And when he did clarify, Mr Hanson was clear that he was not suggesting that Mr Barr personally was receiving the money. There was only what I could say was the suggestion or the imputation—but it was not a suggestion or imputation but a clear statement that the ACT government was receiving this money, which, of course, is reasonable. That was what was being talked about.

If there is anybody in the world who could be regarded as the personification of the ACT government, I would have thought that the Chief Minister came pretty close to being that person. Outside this place sometimes people refer to me as a member of the government. It depends a bit on the context as to whether I draw any distinctions with regard to my role. Sometimes when they are talking about some of the more egregious planning decisions, I say that I am a humble crossbencher and that if I had been the planning minister that decision would not have been taken.

Ms Le Couteur continued:

We all know that we are often addressed as “the government”, regardless of our actual role in this Assembly. I think that Mr Barr should have been capable of determining that Mr Hanson was addressing him in his role and position as Chief Minister and Treasurer. So I really could not agree with Mr Barr when he said


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