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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 8 Hansard (25 August) . . Page.. 2353 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

comments made in the Canberra Times and we have been accused of something which we were not really responsible for or whatever, so it would be very easy for the Canberra Times to support an allegation that corruption is a problem in the ACT; but, to its credit, it came in quickly in response to Mr Kaine's Bill and said in an editorial:

The ACT does not need an Independent Commission Against Corruption, whatever United Canberra MLA Trevor Kaine might think.

It goes on to say:

Mr Kaine himself rejected the concept when he was chief minister back in 1990, saying he didn't see a sufficient level of public concern with official decision-making to warrant such a body. All that has changed, he says. Correspondence to his office indicates a growing concern that government decision-making is not open to review.

It could well be, of course, that the reason Mr Kaine perceived so little public discontent when the issue was raised back in 1990 was that he was then part of the decision-making elite. Now that he is so far on the outer and such a public critic of his former Liberal colleagues, it is little wonder that the nature, tone and content of the correspondence received in his office has changed. Whether the scale of community dissatisfaction or alarm is truly any greater now than it was back then is a moot point. Perhaps only the targets have changed.

Mr Speaker, I will quote the last paragraph as well. It says:

Mr Kaine would be better off tackling manageable reforms to government process. That is where the change is needed, and that is where it is achievable.

Perhaps that is also a fair comment.

Mr Speaker, I simply indicate to this Assembly that it is dangerous and unbecoming for us to break out a fresh set of allegations when we feel that we need to ratchet up a particular debate or add meat to a particular attack that might be launched against a particular government or whatever on the basis that we have a need for more ammunition and this is the handiest box we can turn to. It is a very dangerous thing, particularly when, in a sense, we take the good name of the ACT in vain in those circumstances.

By saying that this place is corrupt we are casting an aspersion on this community, on the public servants who serve us, on the people who have been elected to this house, and on others who have served this community in a variety of ways in public and non-public roles. There is no need to do that in order to support a piece of legislation. It should be supported on the basis of its strength and the evidence put to the Assembly about its need.

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