Page 2696 - Week 09 - Tuesday, 16 August 2005
to bear, in relation to issues involving the staff of Mr Stefaniak and Mr Cornwell—well over $100,000. Here we have one rule for politicians, and another for public servants.
Mr Mulcahy: On a point of order: Mr Speaker, I draw your attention to relevance to this matter. It seems to have nothing to do with the matters before the Assembly. I would ask you to bring the Attorney-General back to the matters that are under discussion.
MR SPEAKER: I do not think you have a point of order.
MR STANHOPE: It is relevant in terms of the hypocrisy and the humbug. Here we have a motion censuring me for the expenditure of funds in relation to an action taken in a court by a group of public servants defending their reputations and themselves in relation to issues of significant concern to them and a suggestion that the money should under no circumstance be paid, Mr Stefaniak referring with approval to the action taken by the Premier of Queensland, Peter Beattie, “Under no circumstances will I fund public servants in my state.” Mr Stefaniak stands up today and applauds that position. “Don’t support your public servants.”
Of course, that is the essential issue in relation to this opposition, this party: don’t ever support your public servants; they are expendable; they are disposable. We live in a disposable age; they are grist for the mill. If you can score a political point by trashing public servants, do it.
We saw it just a week ago from the shadow anti-police minister. If there was a point to be scored by trashing policeman doing their duty, do it; score the point; don’t worry about the facts. This was from the anti-police minister. We have here Mr Mulcahy, the shadow Treasurer, in relation to the last pay rises saying, “Why do you pay public servants this much? You are paying them too much; they’re only public servants; they don’t deserve pay equity”. You have the issue in relation to Mr Smyth and Mr Stefaniak saying, “They’re only fire fighters.” They were only out there risking their lives, but, if there is a political point to be scored, score it.
Mrs Dunne: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I go back to Mr Mulcahy’s point of relevance. Standing order 58 says you should not digress from the subject matter, and the subject matter is a censure of the Attorney-General over the coronial inquest. What Mr Mulcahy thinks of that—
MR SPEAKER: There is no point of order. I have already ruled on that matter. The issue of public servants is entirely relevant. It has been raised in the debate and is central to the debate.
MR STANHOPE: There we have it. There is one rule for politicians in this place, namely, Liberal politicians who get themselves into the most appalling mess in relation to their private affairs and their personal affairs. Four of them, four of this mob, have been sued in the last two years. And who paid their legal fees? The taxpayer paid. When it comes to nine hard-working public servants, fire fighters, what is the attitude of the Liberal Party to paying their legal bills? No, don’t. Here we have Mr Stefaniak standing up, saying, “Public servants! Why would you pay the legal bills of public servants? They’re only public servants; they’re expendable; they’re disposable.”