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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 2 Hansard (19 February) . . Page.. 344 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

Ms Heather McGregor, the Community Advocate, and a member of her staff for discussions around their concerns in relation to the report.

So I don't know whether we want to quibble about the words "negotiations" or "consultations". But, yes, I did meet with each of the six named officers. Yes, I did discuss in detail their concerns. Yes, I did take on board the range of concerns that they had about the way in which they perceived they were denied procedural fairness and the way in which they perceived they were denied natural justice. They made fulsome cases to me about their concerns. As part of those discussions they, of course, put certain positions to me and I responded. I don't know whether you want to call those negotiations but, yes-

Mr Humphries: You called them negotiations.


Mr Humphries: Yes.

MR STANHOPE: "Discussions", "negotiations", "consultations"-I meet with my officers on an almost daily basis.

MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, I ask a supplementary question. With the benefit of hindsight then, is it inappropriate to allow the principle of the Assembly's right to receive this report to be compromised by these negotiations or discussions with your own public servants?

MR STANHOPE: We know, and we have known for years, about the contempt of the Liberal Party and the previous Liberal government for public servants. I guess a feature of the hospital implosion and a feature of the Bruce Stadium debacle was the extent to which ministerial responsibility was denied by every minister whose fingerprints were all over those issues, and responsibility was sheeted home directly to public servants. We all know of the Liberal Party's contempt for the public service just as we all know of the Liberal Party's contempt for all workers and, of course, this is a fine expression of that contempt.

Mr Smyth: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I raise the issue of relevance. I asked about his negotiations with his public servants, not the history of the Liberal Party. He might like to answer the question which I am sure he is struggling to come to grips with.

MR SPEAKER: I sense that he was just about to get to that issue.

MR STANHOPE: I was, Mr Speaker, but I of course was putting it in context. In answering this question from the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party one needs to put in context the way in which this party in government refused to accept any responsibility for the hospital implosion; the way in which that government-

Mr Smyth: That is not true.

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