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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 8 Hansard (26 October) . . Page.. 2117 ..

MR KAINE (continuing):

darn careful about what they do with their money after they are paid. By Mr Connolly's definition, it is still public money and they may not do anything with it. Mr Connolly's assertion - and he knows it - was not soundly based. If Mr Connolly's proposition is that to use public money to gain a political advantage is immoral, illegal or unethical, then Mr Connolly stands condemned, because, Mr Speaker, I have an extract from the Canberra Chronicle of 31 March 1992 with a very large photograph of Mr Connolly handing out a cheque of public money - not personal money, not private money, but public money. If Mr Connolly is asserting that to take political advantage from the use of public money is immoral, improper or illegal, then he stands condemned. I seek leave to table that document, Mr Speaker.

Leave granted.

MR KAINE: Mr Connolly is not the only one involved. Only last year, on 7 September 1994, Mr Wood had his picture in the paper handing out a cheque of public money. Mr Connolly says that this kind of action is improper; but two Ministers of the former Government, including Mr Connolly himself, stand condemned, in his own words. Where is the double standard, Mr Speaker? There is no double standard, because Mr Hird did not use public money. Where he got the money from is his business. Mr Connolly's strange interpretation of what is moral and what is immoral stands on the record. It is a very strange interpretation indeed.

Mr Speaker, as I said, the debate has been singularly unedifying. We have seen members of the Assembly stoop to incredible levels to try to incriminate somebody - anybody. In fact, after spending 25 minutes talking about nothing, Mr Whitecross finally had a swipe at the Chief Minister, who had not even been mentioned in this debate up until then. Since he could not get a clear shot at Mr De Domenico, Mr Humphries or Mr Hird, he had to have a swipe at somebody, so he had a swipe at the Chief Minister. The debate has served no useful purpose. It is a debate that has cast aspersions on the name of good people. It is a debate in which none of the accusations have been substantiated. During it all we have had this double standard. I think that people on the Opposition benches ought to be damned ashamed of themselves, Mr Speaker. I would ask them to think very carefully before they proceed any further with this matter.

MR WOOD (3.29): Mr Speaker, there is a question I would have liked to ask in question time. I would have done so had I not known that you would have ruled it out of order. I can ask it now and maybe someone from the other side of the house will give me an answer. That question is: What damn fool proposed at a Liberal Party meeting that they raise this boomerang motion? As the debate went on I could see people sitting there with clear expressions on their faces that they wished they had never raised it.

Mr Speaker, the fact that they raised this motion and they persist in this defence causes me some concern. It indicates quite clearly that the Liberals do not want to recognise the difficult situation that they have placed themselves in. It might be forgivable if a backbencher new to the chamber and new to the processes here did what Mr Hird did.

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