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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 4 Hansard (27 March) . . Page.. 922 ..

MR MOORE (continuing):

difficult it is for you. We have made it very clear to you that we would support your ability to name a member." Just as I said to you, Mr Speaker, in the previous Assembly and in this Assembly, that I would support your ability to name a member. That motion was necessary because it was supporting the Speaker.

I think I have spoken in those terms to Mr Rugendyke on many occasions. I have spoken in the same terms to Mr Osborne on many occasions, and on innumerable times to Ms Tucker and to Ms Horodny when she was here. I pointed out how important it was for us to make sure that we keep a stable Assembly by ensuring that the Speaker knows that he has the power and the confidence to be able to name somebody should he so wish.

Mr Speaker, this government, this Assembly, does have confidence in your ability to carry out what we can tell from this debate is an extraordinarily difficult task. I think it is fair to say that I also believe, on behalf of the government, that Mr Wood, as Deputy Speaker, also fulfils that task in an appropriate way. We will always be dissatisfied at some stage about certain ways that things are done, but as long as that happens in a non-partisan way you should retain our confidence.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Sitting suspended from 12.42 to 2.30 pm

Questions without notice

Canberra Hospital-nurses

MR STANHOPE: My question is to the minister for health. On 8 March, the minister used the privileges afforded to members of this place to make an unwarranted, unprincipled and defamatory attack upon the secretary of the ACT branch of the Australian Nursing Federation. In fact, the minister was brazen enough to admit his motives. Hansard records the minister as saying:

The ANF, of course, is led by Colleen Duff. She is also currently the president of the ACT Trades and Labour Council ... Mr Speaker, I am using parliamentary privilege to suggest an improper motive ...

Later, he said:

... The ANF, led by Colleen Duff, has made a very clear statement that they wish to run candidates in the next election ... Ms Duff is the president of the ACT Trades and Labour Council ... The disappointing part there is that I said that it seems to me that there is a confusion in her roles as leader of the ANF and leader of the Trades and Labour Council in dealing with this issue-

namely, the ANF's negotiations. As recently as this morning, the minister again reflected on Ms Duff's dual roles as secretary of the ANF and president of the TLC. Can the minister say on what basis he assumed that the incumbent of the TLC, Carolyn Humphreys, had resigned? Can the minister tell us that he genuinely was not aware, in making these unprincipled and defamatory attacks on Colleen Duff, that she had resigned as president of the TLC over six months ago? Will he apologise for misleading the Assembly, misleading the people of the ACT and defaming Ms Duff in this way?

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