Page 3290 - Week 10 - Thursday, 25 August 2005

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MR SMYTH: The point is that there was no research or reasoned argument from Mr Corbell when he raised the Hansard that he had invented. It was a case that, if you needed a quote to pursue your argument, you just made it up.

Mr Corbell was upset about a question I asked yesterday, and I make no apology for it. The opposition learnt that there had been an incident at the PSU involving a knife, so we asked a question to see if the incident had indeed occurred. For what other purpose does question time exist but to ask questions? The fact that the incident at the PSU did not exactly occur as it had been reported to the opposition proves that the question was completely valid.

This is not the first time Mr Corbell has leapt up shrieking high dudgeon over the opposition asking questions. Not long ago—on 9 March to be exact—my colleague Mr Stefaniak asked the following question:

Have any cases of cryptosporidium been reported to ACT Health recently? And if so, has the source of the infection been identified?

The question was taken on notice, and Mr Stefaniak’s supplementary asked whether pools or drinking water had been infected. Quoting from Hansard, Mr Corbell’s response was:

I am concerned that the opposition continues to assert, at least indirectly, that there are problems with the safety of Canberra’s water supply. That is a serious assertion, even if made indirectly in the way that Mr Stefaniak just did. If Mr Stefaniak believes that there is a problem he should say so and he should explain why. But to suggest indirectly, as some sort of snide assertion that there is a problem with Canberra’s water supply, is alarmist and dangerous.

Putting aside the interesting leap of logic taken by Mr Corbell, what was the answer that was eventually and quietly provided in writing to Mr Stefaniak’s question? Guess what? There were three notifications of cryptosporidium. Two of these could not be traced and the other was suspected to have come from a private swimming pool. That question was completely valid, as was yesterday’s. The next time the minister does one of these holier-than-thou performances, I advise those members with an interest in physics to remember Flanders and Swan’s application of Boyle’s Law to politics—I know you will like this, Mr Speaker—“The greater the external pressure, the greater the volume of hot air.”

David Hunter memorial lecture

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (5.45): I want to talk about an event I went to last night, which was the David Hunter memorial lecture. I do not know if anybody here knew David Hunter—one of our great citizens that, sadly, we have lost. One of the founding members of Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation and the Journey of Healing in the ACT, he was an enormously supportive and inspiring activist on indigenous issues.

David died in December 2003 after a three-year battle with multiple myeloma. To remember him and his very enthusiastic work, he is commemorated by the David Hunter memorial lecture and, of course, we have now had two of those. Last night the speaker

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