Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 7 Hansard (26 June) . . Page.. 2545 ..
would sign an undertaking to respect the confidentiality of the document and not to disclose it.
As the Chief Minister outlined in his comments, we have had circumstances previously-and I think members are all familiar with it-of legal advice being provided to other members of this place and that advice then being disclosed. There is one case where the government has been sued as a result of that information being disclosed by another member.
The Chief Minister has written to all members of this place seeking their agreement that the government will provide briefings to them and provide legal advice to them that is privileged, but only in the context that they respect the confidentiality of that advice. So all I'm asking is that members be prepared to support an amendment to Ms Tucker's amendment, once it's agreed to, that members sign an undertaking that the advice is to remain confidential and not to be disclosed.
I foreshadow, Mr Speaker, that I will be moving an amendment to that end if Ms Tucker's amendment is successful.
MS DUNDAS(11.24): Just on this motion: I think it is important that, as an Assembly, we are informed and confident that the government is taking the right and proper actions with regard to every facet of their work, and this is another way of being assured that the government is being accountable, is following the rules and laws of the territory and making sure that the actions that are taking place under their direction are proper.
In terms of Ms Tucker's amendment: I think it is the best compromise. It allows members to view the information and to rest assured, if that is what the information then says, that the government is following processes as much as it can and that everything is being done above board.
In terms of what Minister Corbell has just said: it is my understanding that Minister Stanhope circulated advice to every member that, if we are having confidential briefings, we do keep that information confidential, especially in relation to legal advice; and that undertakings will be given under that. I accepted from the Chief Minister-I assumed that other members did-that, when we are talking about legal advice, there are ramifications in terms of courts that we need to be aware of. I have no problem in following that dictate.
I'm not sure that Minister Corbell's amendment is necessary, because that undertaking has already been given.
Mr Corbell: Not all members have given that undertaking.
MS DUNDAS: Minister Corbell says, "Not all members have given that undertaking,"which then does make the point that an undertaking does need to be given in terms of this. I would be happy to support an amendment if it is so put forward-so long as we can get to the point where people are informed and can rest assured that the government is doing what it is meant to be doing and the information is available to members-so that we can carry out our duties in keeping the government accountable.