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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 1 Hansard (13 December) . . Page.. 227 ..

MR STANHOPE: Absolutely. But, as you know, the best story in this place today is the flagrant great waste of money we have all experienced in relation to Mr Smyth's determination to have a room with a view.

MR SMYTH: I ask a supplementary question. Chief Minister, why are you going to allow all of your union mates who helped you out in the election the opportunity to break the law and go unpunished? What is the message you wish to send to the public-that it is okay to break the law because this government will go easy on those who do not abide by it?

MR STANHOPE: I often wonder. I have a lot of union mates. This is a derogatory term, is it? "Union mates" is a value-laden term, is it? I am a unionist. In fact, all my friends and colleagues here are unionists. We are all union mates.

Mr Humphries: You have to be to belong to the Labor Party.

MR STANHOPE: We choose to be, because we know the value of collective action. This goes to the very point I make. This was a value-laden belt at the ANF. "Union mates" is a pejorative term. This is bashing nurses. What pleasure does the shadow minister for health get in bashing nurses? Why do you persist in bashing nurses in this way?

Mr Smyth: I take a point of order. The question was about the Chief Minister interfering in the industrial relations process and allowing those who have broken the law to get away with it. Will he stick to the question?

MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: There is no point of order.

MR STANHOPE: I conclude by saying that I have not interfered at all. As Chief Minister and Minister for Health, I have done what the previous government failed to do. I have shown some leadership in relation to the need for us to settle the incredibly debilitating industrial situation we find ourselves in at the Canberra Hospital. It is in nobody's interests for us to have the Canberra Hospital in constant turmoil as a result of this government's attitude to nurses and to unions.

MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! Before I call Mrs Cross, I wish to inform members of the presence in the gallery of Mrs Burke, a previous member of the Assembly. Welcome.

Year 10 students

MRS CROSS: My question is directed to the minister for education, Mr Corbell. On ABC radio this morning it was reported that 97.5 per cent of year 10 ACT government school students achieved or bettered the competencies set out for information and communication technology. Could you advise members of the importance of this Liberal initiative and any feedback you have had from teachers, parents or students from the testing program?

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