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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 3 Hansard (6 March) . . Page.. 636 ..

MR SPEAKER: That is not a point of order. Resume your seat.

Legislative Assembly-alleged security breach

MS GALLAGHER: My question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, have you received any briefing on the allegation of a breach of computer security in the Assembly that is the subject of a police investigation? If so, what are the implications for the operation of members' offices.

MR STANHOPE: Thank you for the question, Ms Gallagher. I acknowledge that this is a matter of ongoing investigation by the Australian Federal Police and, as has been indicated by my colleagues, is a matter of the utmost gravity. It must be addressed by the police and pursued vigorously by them and is, of course, something that this Assembly must have regard to.

Some ongoing consideration of the issue by the Assembly will be necessary over and above the work that the police are doing in their investigation of the allegations, as outlined by Mr Quinlan and Mr Wood. We should consider in particular what Mr Wood says about the extent of his personal outrage at the knowledge that mail directed to him has been interfered with or may not have been received.

Mr Humphries: That is the allegation; it has not actually been proved yet.

MR STANHOPE: Absolutely-that is the concern. I have to say to Ms Gallagher that I have had the advantage of a briefing that was provided by InTACT to the Treasurer. The brief does canvass the nature of the allegations; the brief does canvass the extent of possible breaches; the brief does go into some detail about the possible nature of the alleged breach and the concerns about what may have happened.

The allegation goes to the heart of the privileges of the members of this place. Concerns about mail that had been inappropriately opened and utilised have been mentioned in another place-in relation to Ian McLachlan in the House of Representatives a number of years ago. I think of the outrage that was expressed then at the sort of conduct that has been alleged in this place.

This sort of conduct goes to the heart of the issue of the morals of acceptable behaviour, ethical conduct and honesty in our dealings with each other. The incident in the federal parliament, when McLachlan was concerned about a member of his staff opening mail that he knew not to be addressed to him and the subsequent standing down by McLachlan from the shadow ministry, highlights the significance of this issue and the extent to which it is an issue of acceptable behaviour, morals, ethics, the law and the responsibility of each of us.

It would be interesting for members of this place to hear from Mr Humphries about his response to these allegations: whether or not he or any of his colleagues or staff knew about or were involved in this matter and, if so, what steps he has taken and whether he himself, in regard to his overriding responsibility as the Leader of the Opposition, has given any consideration to whether it would be appropriate for him to relinquish his position during the police investigation. It would be appropriate for the Leader of the

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