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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 13 Hansard (9 December) . . Page.. 4127 ..

MR MOORE (Minister for Health and Community Care) (4.12): I will be very brief. Firstly, it is a shame that Mr Stanhope responded without taking the opportunity to read the opinion of the Acting Commissioner for Public Administration that the Chief Minister tabled. It is also interesting that Mr Stanhope should accuse the Chief Minister of adopting an instinctive approach. We have had the instinctive approach of Labor, the instinctive approach that we always get, of throwing mud in alleging that there has been a rort, a scam or a breaking of the law. That is simply untrue. That is the language that Mr Stanhope uses because he loves to build up a straw man and then knock it down and to create the impression that somehow all our public servants are interested in rorts, scams and so forth. That is the mud that the Labor Party instinctively throws. Mr Speaker, some of it sticks because that is what happens when you throw mud.

Mr Hargreaves: Great! Terrific!

MR MOORE: We have the interjection from Mr Hargreaves, "Great! Terrific!". The mud does not stick just to elected members of the Government. It does stick there, clearly. But you do not care who else it hits. In this case it hits a whole series of public servants who have contracts or are working to those contracts. The validity of those contracts has been verified by a document tabled by the Chief Minister, but you do not take that into account. You have a single focus on where you are going.

The matter of public importance today alleges that the Chief Minister has failed to accept responsibility for the making of inappropriate payments. That is wrong. It is wrong for the simple reason that in 1997 the Chief Minister referred this issue to the Remuneration Tribunal. In other words, she looked at it and said that this issue needs to be examined. She took that responsibility and, correctly, had it examined at arms length by the Remuneration Tribunal. That was the correct approach. That is taking responsibility, but interfering with individual contracts is not. That would be inappropriate. She was paying attention to process and following process correctly. What we get from the Labor Party when it suits them to muck up the process is constant suggestions about interfering with tenders, as Mr Stanhope suggested with the hospice, and interfering with contracts, as is being suggested here. Instead, this Government follows proper process, as it has done here.

MR BERRY (4.15): Mr Speaker, I want to talk first of all about responsibility and the failure of the Chief Minister to accept responsibility in many respects, especially her failure to accept responsibility in respect of this matter. Her theme song, as has been said by my colleagues, is, quite appropriately: "Not, not, not responsible". That is the common cry. The first thing that we heard from the Chief Minister, as has been said before, is that it was the fault of the Labor Party, not of the Chief Minister.

I seem to have heard her say that before. After the fatal hospital implosion, I think the first words she said were: "It is Totalcare's fault; it has nothing to do with me". She said to the police investigators, "It was not me; it was Trevor Kaine". That was untrue. At every turn this Chief Minister tries to blame somebody else. First of all it was the Labor Party, then it was the Commissioner for Public Administration. She will do anything else but accept responsibility for what must be seen out there in public as unacceptable levels of payment to very highly paid and senior officials.

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