Page 37 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 7 December 2004

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provides a reason to want to help human society or, more particularly, to help individual people because they are all valuable.

Dr Martin Luther King Jr said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” I do not intend to be silent. To the people of Molonglo, I look forward to serving all of you to the best of my ability. It is you who have elected me and it is you who will determine my fate in four years time. It is therefore you whom I will serve with all that I have while I remain a member of this place.

Public interest disclosure

Ministerial statement

MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Children, Youth and Family Support, Minister for Women and Minister for Industrial Relations): Mr Speaker, I seek leave to make a ministerial statement on public interest disclosure.

Leave granted.

MS GALLAGHER: I rise to report back to the Assembly on the outcome of the investigation of the public interest disclosure involving the ACT Department of Education and Training, Procurement Solutions, and the former Totalcare Industries. The disclosure concerned management of school repairs and maintenance contracts.

Mr Speaker, as you will recall, members of the Liberal opposition in the last Assembly repeatedly raised issues that were the subject of this disclosure. I undertook to report back to the Assembly at a later date, as it was inappropriate for me to comment during the course of the external investigation.

I should also stress that it was equally inappropriate for the opposition to seize on the matter in the fashion they did. In doing so they denied public servants their right to natural justice and to procedural fairness and I believe seriously compromised the protection afforded to the complainant under the provisions of the Public Interest Disclosure Act.

Mr Speaker, the Stanhope government views public interest disclosure as an essential element in the protection of probity and accountability in the ACT public sector. It takes all disclosures extremely seriously.

Given that this particular disclosure reflected on the conduct of three organisations and their officials, an independent investigator was engaged to examine the allegations. The investigator found that none of the allegations was substantiated. In respect of a significant number of the more serious allegations, the investigator concluded that the allegations were inconsistent with the evidence. The investigator went considerably further in his comments in dismissing allegations on some matters, but I do not intend to outline those observations here.

The Commissioner for Public Administration has reviewed the report and has stated that she “is satisfied that a complete investigation has been carried out and that none of the

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