Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 6 Hansard (2 September) . . Page.. 1852 ..
MR RUGENDYKE (continuing):
Alan Kingston, or Kingo as he was known, was a dear friend of mine. I worked with him for many years. He was one of life's gentlemen and a real character in the police force. He had a varied career in the police force. He had a crack at many things - community policing, traffic, communications, and other tasks.
Mr Speaker, he is survived by his children, his daughter, Jodylee, and sons, Peter and Scott. He was to remarry in November to his fiancee Sandy who has a young son, Aaron. It is a sad thing. Perhaps shiftwork or policing in general contributes to an unhealthy lifestyle. The passing of Alan Peter Kingston was a sad day for the Territory and for his family.
MR WOOD (9.28): Mr Speaker, I rise to support a former member of this Assembly, a much respected former member. If I asked our longer serving members whom of their colleagues they would regard highly for honesty and integrity, Helen Szuty would be at the top of the list. Many of us were also in awe of her attention to detail, which is relevant to the issue I raise.
The story is this. The Minister for Urban Services, Mr Brendan Smyth, lodged a complaint, in confidence, dated 8 July 1998, to the general manager of the Real Estate Institute of the ACT, Mr Adam Moore, about the conduct of Helen Szuty. I have no doubt that the Minister believed that he was justified in so doing. Helen Szuty had made representations to him about a Charnwood family, requesting priority housing. Members may recall the circumstances of the Charnwood family which received media attention. At the time of the complaint Ms Szuty was working at Cec Hodgkinson Real Estate in Belconnen. The claim Mr Smyth made was that, while Ms Szuty was trying to secure better government housing for the family, she was also representing her own interests as a real estate agent by seeking to secure a sale. Ms Szuty strongly asserts that this was not the case.
My respect for her is such that I fully accept her assurances. She informs me categorically that she carefully advised Mr Smyth that she was not looking to secure a sale for her benefit. Indeed, given the nature of the real estate industry, this could not occur unless she or her firm made a specific approach to the listing agency, another firm. No such approach was ever made. The listing agency confirms this.
I am confident that Ms Szuty, whose attention to detail is legendary, would not confuse the issues, and it seems that the Minister may have. In particular, Mr Smyth said that Ms Szuty handed him her business card. I got one, too. If the Minister misunderstood this gesture, I can assure him that it was intended only as a convenient way of advising of her telephone numbers and not in connection with her work. I acknowledge that the issue could have been clearer if Ms Szuty had made an approach in a different way.