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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 7 Hansard (26 June) . . Page.. 2639 ..



I also said in answer to a question from Mr Pratt:

You made an opening comment that these are very important issues and warrant a response, and a quick response; and that is true...It is then the case that they ought to be thoroughly and properly considered by people and a process competent to do that.

It was not that committee at that time. An estimates committee established to examine expenditure and revenue-again I say that members should look at the terms of reference-could not manage in an hour or two to do the same thing as Mr McLeod and the coroner will be doing over a period.

My record in appearing before the committee, as always, indicated my willingness to give answers and to respond to members. I have always respected the work of the Assembly through its committees and I am offended that anything else could be suggested. I stand by the action I took in seeking to focus the Estimates Committee on the purpose for which it was established and in not allowing a few quick questions on the January bushfires to be misused for political processes.

A contempt can be found if it can be shown that the work of a committee of the Assembly has been impeded. I did not impede the work of the committee. I focused on its stated purpose and you cannot go beyond the terms of reference, to repeat for the nth time, to examine the expenditure proposals contained in the appropriation bill and any revenue estimates proposed by the government.

Members, this proposal to refer this matter to a privileges committee is a nonsense and I think that the opposition should have the good sense and the willingness to withdraw it.


(9.00): Mr Speaker, I have just a few words to say. Mr Wood has just expressed some concerns. I know that members of the Estimates Committee had concerns. Given that there are concerns all round, why don't we just go ahead with this privileges committee and explore every area and see what is there, if anything?


(Minister for Health and Minister for Planning) (9.01): Mr Speaker, I have reflected carefully on the evidence I gave to the Estimates Committee at its budget hearing into the department of health. There are two issues that affect the department of health. The first is a document that was produced by an officer within the department of health which was completely inappropriate.

It seems to me that the reason the Liberal Party are seeking a privileges hearing into that matter is that they do not believe that the department has supplied all of the necessary documents in relation to that matter. That seems to be the argument. They say, "We don't believe you. We don't believe there aren't more documents."That seems to be the issue. Mr Smyth made that point as much when he spoke in this debate last week.

Mr Speaker, the committee called for all documents in relation to the internal unauthorised memo that was subsequently leaked to the media. I provided all of the documents. The committee had the power to call for all the documents. I provided all of the documents. On what basis does the Liberal Party claim that there are more

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