Page 1357 - Week 05 - Tuesday, 5 April 2005
Most of the things that Mrs Burke has said are without substance. She has not backed anything up. All she has done is put a whole stack of things on the notice paper—hundreds and hundreds of matters on the notice paper. She has not once written to me with a case of intimidation or retribution. She has written the odd case constituent thing to me—and I have responded to each and every one of them, well within the time frame. I respond to every one of them.
Mrs Burke: Indeed. Don’t say I don’t write to you.
MR HARGREAVES: To suggest that I do not respond to each and every representation is a falsehood—a bald-faced falsehood. The officers of my department operate with integrity, with empathy and with—
MR SPEAKER: Order! I think there is an imputation in the comment “a bald-faced falsehood”.
MR HARGREAVES: Well, I could not say “lie” then, Mr Speaker, could I?
MR SPEAKER: But the imputation is that Mrs Burke was lying. I think you should withdraw that.
Mrs Burke: They were your words, not mine.
MR HARGREAVES: I know. The suggestion, the imputation on me, was a falsehood, Mr Speaker, is what I suggest.
MR SPEAKER: I think “bald-faced” means “deliberate”, so a “deliberate falsehood” ought to be withdrawn.
MR HARGREAVES: Mr Speaker, I find it very difficult to withdraw an imputation against me. But, if it pleases you, Mr Speaker, I shall withdraw it.
MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra) (4.25): I thank the minister for his entertaining speech. While I was upstairs I heard a number of points in the debate. Might I say, first and foremost, that the overarching thrust of this MPI is that ACT Housing needs to provide better service delivery so that tenants receive assistance, advice and timely service.
I commend the minister and the government on a couple of points in the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill. There are some clauses in the bill that will assist ACT Housing and the vast number of housing tenants who are law abiding citizens, who take a pride in their homes, who pay their rent regularly and who make excellent neighbours for whomever they happen to be living next to. It is not just the public housing market that has problems with difficult tenants. That occurs in the private market as well.
In 2002, when I was shadow housing minister, I got a number of complaints—I still do—from people in the community who had incredibly difficult housing tenants next to them. One case in Florey was attended to a little bit better by housing, but there seemed to be a reluctance by the staff there, for whatever reason, to really address some of the bad