Page 5 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 12 February 2008

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MR MULCAHY: On Monday, 4 February 2008, Vice President Watson of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission delivered a judgement in a matter involving the Australian Hotels Association and an application brought before that commission by a disgruntled AHA member—namely, their New South Wales branch president, one John Thorpe. In his decision, Vice President Watson concluded as follows:

… I do not believe there are reasonable grounds for believing that any rule of the organisation or any regulatory requirement has been breached. I have not formed the belief that would require me to refer the matter to the Industrial Registrar for investigation under section 278 or any other provision of the Act. Therefore I decline to do so and dismiss the matter.

That marked the conclusion of one of the grubbiest attempts to smear the name of a member of this chamber that has occurred since self-government was established in the Australian Capital Territory.

Mr Acting Speaker, I first became aware of Thorpe’s attempts to derail my career when an approach was made by yourself, Mr Pratt, to the then ACT Liberal Party president, Mr Gary Kent, during the 2004 election campaign when, acting at the behest of those behind this recent case, Mr Pratt encouraged Mr Kent to rescind my preselection. Fortunately, the Liberal Party president was satisfied as to the dubious nature of the claims.

Mr Seselja interjecting—

MR MULCAHY: I also found it most intriguing that Mr Pratt was the beneficiary of substantial donations from the national AHA when Thorpe was its president, a benefit extended to no other state or territory—

Mr Stanhope: On a point of order, Mr Acting Speaker: the Leader of the Opposition just alleged that the member for Molonglo was not telling the truth, that he was being untruthful in his statement. I ask that he withdraw.

MR ACTING SPEAKER: I did not hear that interjection; there is no point of order.

MR MULCAHY: This is a benefit extended to no other state or territory MP in Australia, as far as I am aware. Even the ACT branch of the AHA knew nothing of this transaction.

Although anyone reading the Canberra Times over the past two years might have been forgiven for thinking I was on trial or facing some charges, the fact is that much of the venom in this case was directed at other decent and leading members of the Australian Hotels Association and former employees, including my friend and former colleague Andrew Wilsmore, who was also totally exonerated in the judgement handed down last week.

Of course, some of my former colleagues in both the parliamentary Liberal Party and the Liberal Party organisation in the ACT hoped that this case would be my undoing. The disgraceful aiding and abetting is now a matter of public record, and I am grateful

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