Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 4 Hansard (23 June) . . Page.. 839 ..
MR STEFANIAK (Minister for Education): Mr Speaker, for the information of members, I present the 1998-99 purchase agreement between me, as Minister for Education, and the chief executive of the Department of Education and Community Services.
MR SMYTH (Minister for Urban Services): Mr Speaker, for the information of members, I present the 1998-99 purchase agreement between me, as Minister for Urban Services, and the chief executive of the Department of Urban Services.
MR MOORE (Minister for Health and Community Care): Mr Speaker, for the information of members, I present the 1998-99 purchase agreement between me, as Minister for Health and Community Care, and the chief executive of the Department of Health and Community Care.
MS TUCKER: Mr Speaker, under standing order 46, I would like to make a personal explanation.
MR SPEAKER: Proceed.
MS TUCKER: In question time, Mr Stefaniak made a couple of comments which I need to respond to. First of all, Mr Stefaniak said that I had abused a private briefing of the Education Committee about work for the dole people working in primary schools. I would like to make it quite clear, firstly, that I first heard about the proposal outside the committee; secondly, that I raised it in the committee and I was given no more information than was otherwise available in the community; thirdly, that the media already knew about it and were asking me; fourthly, that the committee was prepared to work in confidence with the department in looking at the detail of the contract, even though I must say that I thought it was a bit odd for an open and consultative government to be seen to be so secretive; and, fifthly, that we were told twice, through the secretary of the committee, by a government official - whose name I am happy to give you afterwards, as I know that you do not like anyone to name officials in this place, and I respect that - that, since the committee briefing, it had been decided that we could not have access to that document because it was commercial-in-confidence. I asked for a letter to that effect, which the secretary has been told will be coming to the committee.
The Minister somehow seemed to feel that, by daring to bring this issue into public debate, I was going to cause the proposal to fail. My comment there would have to be that it was already in the public arena; but, because it was being handled in a closed and secretive way, there were grave concerns. All I was trying to do was to get information.