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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 3 Hansard (6 March) . . Page.. 648 ..

Legislative Assembly-alleged security breach

MR HUMPHRIES (Leader of the Opposition): Mr Speaker, I ask for leave to make a statement regarding the allegations of misconduct with respect to the use of emails in the Assembly.

Leave granted.

MR HUMPHRIES: It has been brought to my attention, in the last few days, that a federal police inquiry is in progress into allegations of misconduct in relation to email use by one member of the staff of the Liberal opposition. The staff member in question has stood aside as a result of those allegations being made. The office of the staff member concerned was, today, subject to a search, pursuant to a search warrant executed in the Assembly.

Before the warrant was executed, I was advised of the desire of the police to execute such a warrant. I consented to that, and was quite happy for that to occur, in order that the investigation that had been commenced was able to proceed.

I have informed the federal police that all members of the opposition fully support the investigation and will actively facilitate the process in any way possible. I had no prior knowledge of the alleged misconduct before this investigation began. The opposition does not condone inappropriate use of email-or any other information or communication device.

A number of suggestions or comments have been made in respect of this matter which, I think, need to be debunked. A suggestion has been made that there has been an investigation into a liberal MLA. The police have confirmed that that is not the case. A suggestion was made that there has been a raid on an Assembly office. That is also not the case. A suggestion has been made today, in the course of these sittings, that hacking into somebody else's computer may have occurred. I have no information and have heard no any suggestion to support that contention.

Mr Speaker, I reiterate that the opposition views any question of a breach of the law with respect to emails as a matter of great gravity and seriousness. It believes that such matters should be properly investigated, and anybody who is found to have committed an offence appropriately prosecuted.

If it is found that such behaviour by members of the opposition has occurred, any suggestions which one might glean, from the nature of comments made in question time today, that there has been any tacit or overt approval for such behaviour by me as opposition leader, are quite false. I categorically reject them, and I indicate again that this opposition will cooperate with the investigation being conducted in this place.

Personal explanations

MRS DUNNE: Mr Speaker, I seek to make an explanation under standing order 46.

Leave granted.

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