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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 8 Hansard (26 October) . . Page.. 2076 ..

MR DE DOMENICO (continuing):

Mr Speaker, where is the evidence that Ms Follett and her colleagues have been alluding to? Nowhere that I can see. But what did the Chief Minister do about this? The Chief Minister wrote to the Auditor-General. I will leave it to the Chief Minister to explain that. What is happening now, Mr Speaker? The Auditor-General has the file and will look into it, and I look forward to what the Auditor-General has to say.

MRS CARNELL (Chief Minister) (11.21): Mr Speaker, Ms Follett made some very interesting comments that I think go to a very fundamental difference between the two sides of this house. Ms Follett seemed to indicate that she believed that no members of this house or their families or partners could be involved in any company business or anything else that dealt with this Government. That is an extremely serious thing to say. That was my concern when last week I wrote to the Auditor-General. It seemed to me that that was what the Labor Party was saying last week as well - that they believed that the moment anybody got into this place they, their families or their partners could no longer deal with government; that the Government could no longer employ those people or contract their services.

I think we will find that the partners of a number of members work for the Government in various capacities - some on short-term contracts, I understand. I think that is totally appropriate. I think there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. We live in a city where at least 48 per cent of the work force is employed by either the Commonwealth Government or the ACT Government. The ACT Government has some 14 per cent of the work force. A very large percentage of the business in this town is generated by either the Commonwealth Government or the ACT Government. To suggest for one moment that no partner or family member of anybody in this house can seek a contract to work for the Government, to supply services, to supply goods, to - - -

Ms Follett: No; I am saying that the Government should not give government contracts to members of the Government.

MRS CARNELL: It did not.

Ms Follett: Yes, it did.

MRS CARNELL: They did not in this case. What we have here quite simply is a company owned by Mr Hird's wife and a partner. If we are saying that Mr Hird's wife cannot own a company that tenders - - -

Ms Follett: That just happens to be called by her husband's name.

MRS CARNELL: And Mr Hird's father's name as well. That is the case here. Does that mean that Mr Hird's wife's company can no longer do business in this town? Is that what we are saying here?

Mr Connolly: Ethically, yes. He should not deal with the ACT Government.

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