Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 07 Hansard (Tuesday, 1 July 2008) . . Page.. 2434 ..
had a resolution. Mr Corbell and this government routinely do not provide documents to committees when requested. So Mr Corbell was free to say no. It is instructive that Mr Corbell is so sensitive about providing documents on this particular matter, because when we look at this inquiry, it has been particularly embarrassing for the government. In fact, we are still seeing the failure of Mr Stanhope to appear. I would have thought he would make himself available. I would have expected that Mr Stanhope would have made himself available for this inquiry, given his comments after the coroner handed down her findings, saying that she made political judgements. He should have come along and set the record straight for us, but he is not coming. The Chief Minister is not prepared to front up and say what he did and to answer questions about his role.
Mr Corbell is particularly sensitive about providing documents. Some of the things that have been uncovered as part of this inquiry are uncomfortable—how badly this government has mismanaged emergency services in this territory, going right back to before the 2003 bushfires, and including on the day. So we see a heightened level of sensitivity from Mr Corbell. But his central case here is that he was written a letter by Mr Stefaniak requesting a document, and because Mr Stefaniak apparently did not go through the formal procedure of having two committee members support that, that is a breach of privilege.
This is taking it to a new low, Mr Speaker. We see the pattern. We saw Ms Gallagher try to do so because she was quoted in a public forum. We saw Ms Porter try, and now we see Mr Corbell bringing this ridiculous motion before the House. This motion should be rejected. It is an attempt by this government and by the Labor Party in this place to deflect attention from what has been a very bad period. It has been a very bad period for them, Mr Speaker, and this is their attempt to use their majority to try and cast doubt on the performance of Mr Stefaniak. There is absolutely nothing in this. There is no substance to it, and it should be rejected as having absolutely no substance.
DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (10.56): I want to speak briefly against Mr Corbell’s motion. I believe that this issue was handled within the committee, and I was very surprised to see today that the government thought it was something that should be brought out under the glare of the public eye.
I feel that to some extent it is an interference with the political process. Of course, we know that the government has got the numbers and that the privileges committee is very likely to be established, and it will all be paraded through there. If we are going to reflect on all the sorts of issues that chairs and other members of committees have perhaps been involved with over the last four years, that is all well and good, but why is this one being selected?
I was aware that Mr Corbell certainly did not appreciate the fact that the letter had been sent, but I believe that these things really should be dealt with by committees. I feel that it was dealt with by the committee. Anything else I have to say, I will say to the privileges committee. I will not be supporting this motion.
MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (10.58): It is very interesting that this should happen today and it is very interesting that it should happen in this way. It comes at the end of