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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 10 Hansard (13 October) . . Page.. 3106 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

There was no interview with Mr Smyth broadcast on Capital News. There were interviews with Mr Smyth on WIN and Prime and they were extracted, of course. I want to read the quotes from Mr Smyth on both of those stations. First of all, from WIN News, a very short grab:

The Government has already started a review of the whole process. When I've got those results, I'll relay them to the whole Assembly.

It take it Ms Tucker would concede that was not inconsistent with the retraction at all that was given by Mr Smyth yesterday. On Prime News Mr Smyth said the following:

When those sample results came back, it said, yes, there is a lead problem. We then did extensive scientific analysis of the size and the extent of the problem. When we got those results, we acted immediately to close the tip. What it's about is making sure when Ministers are censured it's for important reasons, not for political grandstanding on behalf of the Greens.

I would ask Ms Tucker to ask herself how either of those statements are inconsistent with the retraction which Mr Smyth made yesterday just before question time. None of those quotes, attributable to Mr Smyth in his interviews, in any way contradicted either his statement during the censure motion or the retraction which he made in the Assembly later that day. I think Ms Tucker should now come back to the Assembly and withdraw her statement that she made in this place today that the Minister "has made a false and misleading statement on television".

We have not got a tradition in this place of retracting statements that are made outside this place which are misleading. Perhaps we should, but if we did we would have a lot more time spent on motions of censure in this place than we presently do - and that is saying quite a lot. Mr Smyth did retract his statement from earlier on in yesterday's debate. Ms Tucker came to this place and said quite clearly and categorically, "Mr Smyth has made a false and misleading statement on television". With respect, that is not true.

I want to point out in closing this debate that yesterday and today members made some issue of the fact that the comments for which Mr Corbell was criticised here were not made by way of a statement but by way of a question. I remind members about a certain debate that occurred on 25 August 1993, where the then Leader of the Opposition and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, namely, Ms Carnell and Mr De Domenico, were censured by the Assembly for asking questions.

Ms Carnell: Was that a question about the nurses dispute?

MR HUMPHRIES: No, this is a question about a certain Mr Charles Wright. It carried an imputation, and both those people were censured by the Assembly for asking that question.

Mr Berry: Fair enough too; it was disgraceful.

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