Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 13 Hansard (21 November) . . Page.. 3936 ..
ReportDebate resumed from 19 November 2002, on motion by Ms Tucker:
That the report be noted.
MS DUNDAS (4.05): I rise to speak briefly on this report. The report has taken an enormous amount of time in the Assembly's committee process and, for that matter, in the media. I wonder, if there were a similar occurrence in another government department, or in the private sector, whether the board of directors would still be talking about it weeks and months later. I think we know that, if a similar situation occurred in the private sector, the employee would have been sacked at once and the contract with the IT company immediately terminated. Nevertheless, that has not been the case here and it is important that we have been able to study it in depth.
Mr Speaker, I wish to thank the committee for the thorough work it has done. Both the majority and minority reports have been well researched and considered. In an attempt to find some resolution and a way of moving forward from this, I have taken some of the recommendations from the privileges report and put forward a motion asking for the Administration and Procedure Committee to inquire and report on InTACT, volunteers and a code of conduct. Hopefully, if the Assembly supports such a resolution, these inquiries will work to help ensure such a situation does not arise again.
In this discussion, a point worth remembering is that the AFP and the DPP have determined that no criminal offence has occurred. The actions or omissions of people in this building have led to no criminal offence.
The other point worth reiterating was a comment made by the committee chair when the report was tabled. Ms Tucker pleaded with the Assembly to not trivialise this important issue by using it as an excuse for partisan head-kicking. This plea has unfortunately, yet predictably, fallen on deaf ears.
The report makes the assertion that, upon receipt of correspondence of any sort by mistake or in error, it should be directed immediately to the correct recipient. This I wholeheartedly concur with.
We are a small Assembly. There needs to be an element of trust, which means that we do not lock our office doors every time we leave. It means that if, by mistake or in error, we receive somebody else's fax or letter, we give it to them immediately. People sometimes accidentally leave their originals on the photocopier and these are returned promptly to their rightful owners. This level of trust ensures that the Assembly is able to operate.
This also means that the member of staff who was receiving the emails should be held in contempt. Not bringing the matter to the attention of Mr Wood is unprofessional and unethical. That staff member has, I believe, done the right thing in resigning, as his position on staff was untenable.