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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 13 Hansard (19 November) . . Page.. 3690 ..

MRS CROSS (continuing):

Mr Speaker, it is an age-old political ploy that when someone like Mr Humphries is in trouble and backed into a corner, they create diversion to take the heat away from their own faults. In this case, it was the matter of unauthorised access to Minister Wood's email account. In view of the findings in the report that was presented last week by the Select Committee on Privileges, Mr Humphries should now be encouraged by this chamber to show some courage and come clean about what he did in fact know about the affair. Far from expressing any shame or remorse or leadership skills, Mr Humphries-

Mr Humphries: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: Mrs Cross just alleged that I have concealed information or otherwise behaved deceitfully or dishonestly with respect to matters before the Privileges Committee last week. That is clearly imputing an improper motive to a member of this place. Under standing order 55 there is no interpretation but that that is in breach of the standing order.

MR SPEAKER: I accept your point of order, Mr Humphries. I will rule those words out and ask Mrs Cross not to repeat them.

MRS CROSS: Thank you, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Or to withdraw them.

MRS CROSS: Yes, Mr Speaker.

Mr Humphries: Has she withdrawn them?

MR SPEAKER: She said yes.

MRS CROSS: I withdraw those words that you wish to be withdrawn, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Thank you. Mrs Cross.

MRS CROSS: Mr Humphries has so far chosen to selectively disparage evidence and to denigrate the findings of the report, consistent with the way he tried to denigrate and discredit me. That is the way Mr Humphries avoids scrutiny.

As a further example of this style, I remind members that since making those comments, Mr Humphries has referred to the first person to be found guilty of contempt of this place, Mr Strokowsky, as "an innocent victim". A political leader who lacks courage and therefore cannot and will not acknowledge when he is wrong, or fails to take responsibility when those he is supposed to be supervising do wrong, abrogates his entitlement to call himself a leader.

Mr Speaker, let me give just one more example of the resort to insinuation that Mr Humphries used in his sustained and unforgivable assault on me, and continues to use in some of his latest comments to the media. The other day, when commenting on Mr Strokowsky's resignation, Mr Humphries referred to him as a man who had sadly been forced to resign and thus be denied his livelihood because of what had happened. He went on to claim that he was an honourable man, an innocent victim in all this.

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