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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 2 Hansard (11 March) . . Page.. 564 ..


(11.23): I would first of all like to thank secretariat staff for their assistance in developing this report. I think it is, contrary to Mr Hird's view, a damn fine report which deals with a very serious issue for the community. The first thing I want to deal with, Mr Speaker, is Mr Hird's dissenting report. It really is a piece of work that ought to be disregarded. The only reason that it ought to be brought to notice is the internal inconsistencies and the poor quality of its assessment of the report against the background of Mr Hird's involvement. Like Ms Tucker, I want to read a passage from Mr Hird's comments. He says:

The report distorts and misrepresents the views of witnesses, uses pejorative language, and is unbalanced in its conclusions.

Let me read this from Mr Hird's dissenting report. Referring to the report, he says:

... is the final nail which condemns this report as one of the greatest wastes of Assembly time and resources yet. In fact I am surprised that the committee bothered to call for submissions at all; the report could have been written before any evidence was placed before the committee. It is a reflection of the narrow ideological position which the majority members brought to this inquiry.

I would have said that that is a fairly strong passage of pejorative language and it strikes me as fairly odd. Maybe it is not odd that the writer wrote this, but it is rather odd that Mr Hird would allow it to be brought to the Assembly in its current form, given his involvement in the committee right throughout the process. I do not recall him using that sort of language at any time during the process. In fact, there was never a real contest of ideas as Mr Hird suggests in his conclusions and recommendation. So I find his report quite insulting on that score. If Mr Hird had taken such a strong position in the committee I would have been much more willing to accept the strong language that he has used in his dissenting report, but no such strong position was adopted. He then goes on:

I totally reject the entire report and reject all conclusions and recommendations. Whilst I acknowledge that the report does incorporate some of my concerns, and I accept that I indicated my support for some of the report's recommendations, the overall thrust and conclusions are unacceptable to me.

When it comes to unbalanced, I think that goes close, Mr Hird. He concluded by saying:

The poor quality of this report is reason enough for the Assembly to demand a much higher standard.

I would have said that that should have applied to Mr Hird's dissenting report. I should also draw members' attention to some comments that Mr Hird made in relation to SoftLaw who gave evidence to the committee. He says, in part:

Is the committee suggesting that the Chief Minister is giving false evidence or not coming completely clean?

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