Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 7 Hansard (30 June) . . Page.. 1829 ..
MR MOORE: Mr Hargreaves interjects, "Because there was an election on". All the more reason for her simply to introduce the guidelines. There is no reason not to do it. The intended crime which Mr Stanhope alleges of Mrs Carnell not only never took place; it is simply preposterous to suggest that any intelligent person would attempt it.
Mr Quinlan, Mr Corbell and Mr Hargreaves continue the argument that the money was spent without enactment. In black-and-white terms, perhaps you could argue that there is something correct about that, because the guidelines had not been issued. Why not? Mrs Carnell and this Assembly would have set a new standard by requiring the guidelines to be issued. She would have expected it to be done, but busy public servants who continued to do things as they had done them before acted as though the Audit Act was still in place - a perfectly normal thing, but not good enough, and she has apologised for that. But it was what we would expect to be a perfectly normal thing.
Mrs Carnell did nothing either intentionally or by neglect. On the contrary, she was responsible for the guidelines going into the Act to set a new standard. She did nothing intentionally or by neglect to break the law. She has not broken the law. It is simply an assertion which Mr Stanhope gloated to his party on the weekend is damaging the Chief Minister. Calumny does damage people.
Do other members believe in fair play? Have those who have declared themselves ready to condemn Kate Carnell no shame for the lack of evidence and their demand for ultimate penalties for the error of Ministers' employees? What will Ms Tucker say? Ms Tucker, I am going to address a question to you. I hope you will pay attention for one minute. Through you, Mr Speaker, I would like to address a rhetorical question to Ms Tucker. I understand her to have a desire to see a different party in government. But I also understood Ms Tucker to believe in justice. Will she now admit that the personal charges against Mrs Carnell have no merit and that her decision today, understandably, is about supporting Labor for government as she did when the Assembly first sat? I think it would be an honourable position to take if she said, "What has been put up does not have grounds, but I would prefer to have a Labor government in place". I would accept that, and we could understand that, but the evidence simply has not been put today. Mrs Carnell has not broken the law. She is entitled to a reasonable sense of justice.
Members, this exercise represents one of the lowest days of the Assembly. It represents the personalisation of politics which the ALP has practised bitterly against Mrs Carnell since she took over her party and threatened Labor's hold on power that it so craves. The smear campaign of the last few months has been so appalling, so misrepresentative of the facts and so plainly defamatory that any ordinary citizen would have sued long ago. Yet a politician is expected to endure this abuse, this calumny and the loss of public support which it inevitably causes. This is the style of the Labor Party - not policy, not good parliamentary contribution to the community, not cooperative government, merely the urge to destroy that which you fear and hate.
Contrast this with the community's expectation of cooperative government, an expectation to which all parties paid deference at the last election, perhaps other than Wayne Berry, who lost more support than any other group. Jon Stanhope, in spite of telling this Assembly in his first words here that he would work cooperatively, has almost single-handedly thwarted any progress towards cooperation with his poisonous