Page 1432 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 6 April 2005

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comforted him that it was appropriate for the matter to be dealt with by Chinese authorities in China and that it was enough if we simply assisted them in their investigation of the crime committed in the ACT.

I reject that absolutely as a complete abrogation by the commonwealth of its responsibility to people living in this nation under the protection of the laws of our country. It simply is not acceptable for the commonwealth government to wash its hands of its responsibility and to assume that the valid interest is that of the Chinese. It is not.

I ask that all further questions be placed on the notice paper.

Personal explanations

MR MULCAHY (Molonglo): Mr Speaker, I claim to have been misrepresented and seek your leave to raise the matter under standing order 46 by way of a personal explanation.

MR SPEAKER: The member may proceed.

MR MULCAHY: During question time today, I believe the Chief Minister made the remark that I had said in this place that public servants were overpaid. I am aware that I have addressed, both here and elsewhere, the rate of pay increases collectively for the public sector in Canberra and I have reflected, one might say adversely, on the competence of the Minister for Industrial Relations in handling negotiations to secure productivity—

MR SPEAKER: This is a personal explanation?

MR MULCAHY: Yes, Mr Speaker. I have no recollection of uttering the statement that public servants are overpaid. I also raise matters under standing orders 51 and 55. Under standing order 51, the Chief Minister, again, reflected on a debate earlier this year when he made the remark, inaccurately, that I was the only member of the opposition who did not speak on a particular bill related to smoke-free places. In relation to standing order 55, he—in my view, in a most offensive fashion—reflected to the Assembly that I in some way advocated the sale of tobacco to children. This is something I have campaigned against vigorously and opposed throughout all my career appointments and I find the statement incredibly offensive and untrue. Mr Speaker, I seek your ruling on the matter of imputation and motive as regards standing order 55.

MR SPEAKER: In the first place, I am surprised that you were able to hear what the Chief Minister said, because in the cacophony that was going on I found it difficult. But, at face value, I take what you say as a correct interpretation of what has been said. As to whether it was offensive, these things are usually raised when they occur because, if one is offended, one is offended immediately. I think the personal explanation for which I have given you leave adequately addresses the issue. I remind members that, if they feel something is offensive, it ought to be raised immediately because—if I can use these words—it loses its sting the longer you leave it.

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