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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 4 Hansard (29 March) . . Page.. 1170 ..

MR WOOD: You dismissed my claims, minister, of the severe difficulties that people have in finding accommodation. Minister, do you disagree, then, with your Chief Minister's view, as expressed on television the other night, where he said that to overcome the problems we might need to push more land out into the marketplace and we might consider reducing land tax to encourage people to build rental properties? Mr Humphries seems attuned to this; why aren't you?

MR MOORE: No, they are different things. Mr Humphries is talking about the private rental market; you are talking about public housing. Mr Wood, you are wrong again. In my press release, I put "wrong, wrong, wrong". You were wrong in each of those cases, Mr Wood. You were misleading the community and you continue to mislead the community. I suggest you start trying to do your research and make sure you are right, right, right.

Public servants-communication with MLAs

MR RUGENDYKE: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Chief Minister. Minister, could you please advise the Assembly of the government's policy on public servants contacting their elected Legislative Assembly members by their work email system. Is there a specific guideline in the ACT public service management standards and acts and, if not, does the Chief Minister perceive a problem with public service employees utilising their email for this purpose, particularly when it is performed in their own time?

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, I am not aware of any requirement or direction with respect to email contact between MLAs and ACT public servants. There may be some part of the public service guidelines which touch on that. I will need to find out and I will take that part of the question on notice. I might say that I have been contacted by such people from time to time and I answer those emails. If they are not supposed to contact us then obviously they and I are not aware, so I suppose there is no harm done.

Mr Speaker, I will not answer questions until I know the facts so I will find out. But I will say that communication between ACT public servants and members of the Assembly, particularly non-government members of the Assembly, has been a great deal easier during the life of this government. I can recall-and members who were in the Assembly at that time will recall-that very often briefings would only be provided by public servants in the presence of a staff member from the minister's office and often they were not provided at all.

Mr Corbell: It happens all the time to me.

MR HUMPHRIES: It is also the case very often that people are provided with briefings without members of the minister's staff being present. The fact that it happens at all, Mr Corbell, is a bit of a change from the habits of the past. Communication flows a little bit easier than it did before. I will find out what the guidelines say, if anything, about email contact.

Mr Speaker, I ask that further questions be placed on the notice paper.

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