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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 6 Hansard (17 June) . . Page.. 1881 ..


(11.26): Mr Speaker, we have just seen an outrageous attempt by the Minister for Health to nobble free speech in this Assembly by taking a lengthy point of order and absorbing most of the time available to the Leader of the Opposition and the chairman of the Estimates Committee. It took up nearly a third of his time.

Now, in the open and frank way we negotiate things in this place, we are not even going to have leave-a complete departure from procedure in this place. This is a grubby attempt to nobble people by this minister, who has been caught out in a very grubby attempt to knobble the estimates committee-and he wants to silence us.

Opposition members

: Shame!


: Order, order! You raise the question of whether procedure was being followed or not, Mrs Dunne. It is open to members to raise points of order; that has been the procedure in this place. If you were attempting to raise a point of order with me in relation to that, I would say there has been no breach of the standing order.


(11.28): I want to make the point that we discussed these things in detail in the committee, and we did not agree on having the circumstances of people involved in the process put forward in this context. We did not. We agreed that Mr Smyth could make views attributed to him known in the context of his speech, but there was no suggestion that he would identify a particular officer in the process-with which he has a difficulty. There was no undertaking of that sort of thing. It was not discussed and was certainly not agreed by my colleague Ms MacDonald or me.

Mr Corbell

: He's misrepresenting the committee, is he?


: As Mr Corbell says, it is misrepresenting the views of the committee; the committee does not hold this view at all. Furthermore, when various materials come to light, Mr Smyth will be found to be maligning an officer quite inappropriately. He should withdraw everything that he said about that officer. I support the minister's motion.

The issue for me is that we agreed within the committee that certain things could be said within the context of the report, as long as they are attributed as a personal opinion of the chair and not of the committee. That has not happened. I believe that the Leader of the Opposition has breached that trust and therefore ought to be concluded.

Question resolved in the affirmative.


: Standing orders have been suspended to allow you to continue your speech, Mr Smyth.


: What I was going to say was that the committee received certain documents from the minister and the committee agreed to accept those documents and not publish any of the details. If I had wanted to name and expose everybody involved in this, the numbers were there in the committee to do so, but we chose not to. I will simply say that the reason the majority of the committee then decided that this matter should

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