Page 3945 - Week 12 - Thursday, 20 October 2005

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Ms Gallagher: Nationally.

MR STANHOPE: Yes, it was advertised nationally. It was merit based and rigorously conducted. There was an interview panel, which comprised Ms Sandra Lambert, Mr Tim Keady and one other person whose name I cannot quite remember at the moment. As a result of that merit selection process, a short list was developed, with a recommendation for an appointment. The person recommended by the committee as the preferred candidate was subsequently appointed.

Community Advocate—selection process

MRS BURKE: My question is directed to the Minister for Children, Youth and Family Support. I refer to the recent appointment of Ms Anita Phillips, a former ALP member of the Queensland parliament, as the Community Advocate.

The Emily’s List website notes that Ms Phillips acted as your mentor in the ACT elections. In turn, you were her mentor when she stood for the federal seat of Herbert. Minister, did you or any of your staff participate at any stage in the selection process for the Community Advocate position, including acting as a referee?

MS GALLAGHER: What a nasty question from the opposition! A senior appointment is being made to an independent statutory office to advise and monitor the care and protection system of children, and to monitor the protections provided to adults in need of support in our community, and here the opposition slanders that appointment. It is slandering the reputation of the person being appointed. It is insinuating that favours are being done for an appointment to be made.

It seems that Mrs Dunne and Mrs Burke had a bit of a chat over the lunchbreak. It looks like there has been a reconciliation. Mrs Dunne thought she would ask the first bit and get some information from the Attorney-General, only to be cleverly followed up by Mrs Burke, who has been left with the rest of the job.

If this is the most pressing issue that the opposition can dream up to ask of my portfolio, it is a sad state over there. Maybe it is because at the moment two party rooms are in operation. Every morning two shadow cabinets are meeting to work out the questions.

Mrs Burke: Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Standing order 118 (a) relates to relevance. Could the minister just answer the question and we can get it over with.

MR SPEAKER: That is not a point of order.

Mrs Burke: It is relevance: what do party room meetings have to do with answering the question—standing order 118 (b)?

MR SPEAKER: The minister should deal with the subject matter. But, Mrs Burke, that is hardly a point of order.

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