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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 9 Hansard (23 August) . . Page.. 3265 ..

MR OSBORNE: Mr Speaker, I ask a supplementary question. Given that you have confirmed that the trip was a result of our sister city relationship, I point out that the vote that was taken during the debate that took place last year when we endorsed the sister city relationship was eight to three, and there seemed to be six votes missing. Has the Labor Party indicated to you that they now formally support the sister city relationship? One can only assume that this is the case, given Mr Quinlan's decision to take part in the trip.

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, I think Mr Quinlan and the Labor Party can speak for themselves. But I have to say that I am very grateful to Mr Quinlan for agreeing to take part in the trip. I was asked to attend that occasion. However, I felt in was inappropriate for me to be outside Canberra during this period and I asked my deputy to represent me. I am very pleased to say that a bipartisan approach was indicated by both Mr Quinlan and Mr Smyth representing the ACT and its community, not the government, at that important occasion.

I might point out that Beijing has about 27 sister city relationships, and only six of those sister city bodies were invited to attend the games. Canberra was one of those six. I think both Mr Smyth and Mr Quinlan do the ACT credit by being there.

Ministerial travel

MR KAINE: My question is to the Chief Minister and it deals with travel, which seems to be appropriate at the moment. The question relates to the ministerial travel report for the first quarter of this year which was tabled recently. This report shows that on 3 and 4 March this year two of your ministers, Mr Smyth and Mr Moore, were absent for a day-and-a-half each and spent a total of $766 between them on travelling expenses when they decamped to Sydney, so to speak, to attend a cultural event. The event to which the ministerial travel report refers was the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. Chief Minister, why was it necessary for half your cabinet, who are so obviously overworked, to take time off at public expense to attend this event, presumably as representatives of the ACT government? What lessons did they learn of value to Canberra, and would not the attendance of just one minister have been more than adequate?

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, the ministers were invited to attend that event in Sydney.

Mr Kaine: And they accept all such invitations regardless.

MR HUMPHRIES: I understand they decided they would accept the invitation. It is not normal for more than one minister to attend any occasion or event outside the ACT, but this was not very far away and did not involve enormous expense. It was the view of those ministers that it was appropriate to attend. I support the making of that decision. I believe that they acquitted the ACT well in indicating that this territory as a community is prepared to support all areas of the Australian community.

MR KAINE: I take it from the Chief Minister's answer that they did not learn anything of value to the ACT, and I think that is probably a correct answer. My supplementary question is this: did Brendan and Michael hold hands all the time at this function?

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