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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 7 Hansard (6 June) . . Page.. 2054 ..

MRS DUNNE (continuing):

What has happened here today, Mr Speaker, is that the government has decided that they would take a particular course of action, and they hoped for a particular outcome. They were disappointed, so they have decided to have a second bite of the cherry and conduct their own witch-hunt.

The things Mr Stanhope said here today go on the basis that he has already prejudged the outcome of this. He has said there was a breach of privilege, and he has said there was a breach of privacy-which, as a matter of fact, is not necessarily a breach of privilege. He has determined that this is the case. He is wanting to hang somebody, and he does not care who it is. This is an outrageous attack. The assertions he has made in this place today-and elsewhere-are based, for the most part, on hearsay.

The staffer at the centre of this has been the brunt of constant jibes by the Chief Minister in the past two or three months. At every opportunity, he has used this place to name the person. Fortunately for Mr Stanhope, that name has never appeared in Hansard.

Mr Stanhope: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I have not ever named this person.

MR SPEAKER: That is not a point of order.

MRS DUNNE: There has been constant interjection using his name. Mr Stanhope, on a number of occasions during question time, has said, "Why isn't X here? Don't you miss X? Bring back X!" It is lucky for Mr Stanhope that that name has never appeared in Hansard. He has taken every opportunity to make that name public. That is just an example of the scurrilous attacks Mr Stanhope makes on Liberal Party staffers every day.

MS DUNDAS (4.59): I will be speaking to both the amendments and-

At 5.00 pm, in accordance with standing order 34, the debate was interrupted. The motion for the adjournment of the Assembly having been put and negatived, the debate was resumed.

MS DUNDAS: I will be speaking to both the amendments and the substantive motion. I believe that the core of the debate is the matter of privilege. Whilst I support the need for a committee inquiry, I do not support the Chief Minister's comments on the outcome he is expecting from this inquiry. We have had a criminal investigation-it has been undertaken. Let us now look at the core of the matter-the matter of privilege and the matter of ethics-and perhaps find some solutions so this kind of problem can never again arise.

How can we, as an Assembly, work to ensure that we do move forward in the better governance of this city? Witch-hunts are a waste of time, and I hope the committee does not fall into the trap of becoming one. Perhaps instead we should look at the need for guidelines or standards around privilege and access to information.

We have whistleblower legislation for the public service-maybe we need to look at something similar for the governance of this Assembly. I hope this committee will be able to look at outcomes and positive solutions, as opposed to slanderous witch-hunting, because that would be a complete waste of this Assembly's time.

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