Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 12 Hansard (18 November) . . Page.. 4168 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

ongoing program of senior leadership development. The two officers of Health admitted being naive, admitted they failed in their duties and apologised to all affected by their actions. I think the committee was quite impressed with the fact that Health itself has taken a number of steps in relation to this matter, including disciplinary action. As I have indicated, the officers concerned have had details of the matter placed formally on their records. Other senior executives as well as these two officers have received counselling regarding their action or inaction.

I am quite satisfied that the department has taken proper steps. However, I have again dissented from the recommendation of the majority of the committee. The committee recommended that no further action be taken. I do not think that that is a position for the committee to take. It may be a position for this Assembly. It is certainly a matter on which Health should take action. Indeed, in this instance it has taken action.

Turning to recommendation 4, we felt as a committee that a seminar series similar to the one the former clerk conducted in relation to Health should be conducted for departmental officers by Assembly staff. I think that that is a very sensible recommendation.

All in all, Mr Speaker, this was a disturbing matter for the committee to have to look at. I think that the practice which has been followed pretty effectively in estimates by all ministers on all occasions bar this one has been a proper one and it is crucially important for the proper running of this Assembly that information which is at hand is not concealed or not given for a petulant reason, a political reason or whatever. If the information is there and it is asked for in a proper forum, such as an estimates committee, the person in the position of the minister has a duty to give that information. Contempt is a serious matter and it is in many ways unfortunate that this whole incident occurred. Nevertheless, it did and there is a unanimous recommendation in relation to a contempt having been found. I believe that it is now a matter for the Assembly.

MR QUINLAN (Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Business and Tourism, and Minister for Sport, Racing and Gaming) (10.54): I also extend my thanks to my fellow committee members and to the secretariat. My comments in relation to the matters that the committee was appointed to examine commence with the information on ABC Radio and the possibility of a leak. I agree with Mr Stefaniak's summary. Yes, what might have happened in the Assembly a little later could have been inferred from what had been discussed in public hearings. However, the language of some of the reportage on the ABC would seem to indicate that some form of information had passed to ABC Radio. However, as is traditional, the media are not going to divulge their sources. I think that the Assembly ought to take serious note of that and be aware of its responsibilities in relation to confidentiality, in particular of committee reports.

In relation to Mr Corbell's refusal to give information, I have incorporated into the report my comment as a matter of emphasis rather than a matter of dissent. I think that it is important to understand the gravity of a contempt and the support for the committee provided significant information which did, in fact, indicate that a contempt would have to result in a significant obstruction to the work of that committee. It is quite clear that what happened here not only did not cause any significant obstruction to the committee but also did not cause any obstruction at all. In fact, I think Mr Corbell said at the

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .