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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 5 Hansard (27 August) . . Page.. 1437 ..

Mr Berry: Do you want me to name them?

MS CARNELL: I would like you, Mr Berry, to put an official complaint forward and not just threaten public servants in this place without naming them. I do not think that is appropriate behaviour under any circumstances. If there are people who have not performed or have not performed appropriately, then we will have appropriate investigations publicly. Mr Berry has to be able to back up comments that he has made.

The approach that we have taken with this protocol is to ensure that everybody knows where they stand. I think it is extremely important, particularly for our public servants, to make sure that they know what is required of them and when it is required of them, to ensure that committees know the process that they need to follow to get information and to ensure that Ministers know what their responsibilities are. That is just good management and, I would say, good parliamentary practice as well. There are no other reasons for this protocol except that on a number of occasions people were not confident about the way they should handle this issue.

Mr Speaker, I think it is a bit rich for Mr Berry to make the comments that he did. When Mr Berry was Minister, his approach, from memory, was that shadow Ministers would not be briefed on anything under any circumstances or for any reason, regardless of how often they asked. I think I probably still have the letter that Mr Berry sent along those lines. That shows that in this place it is important to have protocols that work so that everyone knows what they are about. I am very happy for the protocol to be referred to the Administration and Procedure Committee if that is what the Assembly wants, but I think it is important to have this sort of good practice in this place.

Amendment agreed to.

Motion, as amended, agreed to.


MR BERRY: I would like to make a personal explanation, an enthusiastic personal explanation, pursuant to standing order 46. The Chief Minister said that whilst I was a Minister I refused to give shadow Ministers any briefings at all, if I may paraphrase her. The fact of the matter is that I did more than most. What I made sure of was that if I was not available a member of my personal staff was always at the briefings. In many cases, members of the Liberal Party lost interest once I offered the full bottle.

Ms Carnell: What you said was that every briefing had to come through your office and that you or someone from your office had to be at each one. That is exactly what this does.

MR BERRY: Indeed. To ensure that you got the fullest attention, I would make sure that a member of my personal staff was available if I was not available to deal with it. That generosity has not been provided to us.

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