Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 07 Hansard (Tuesday, 1 July 2008) . . Page.. 2441 ..
This is a witch-hunt; it is a vendetta. Mr Stefaniak made the good point that it is a hypocritical move by a government that prides itself on exercising human rights. Here they are pursuing Mr Stefaniak today with absolutely no warning whatsoever. I believe that Mr Corbell has moved this motion simply to cover his failure to provide documents to this inquiry. He has moved this motion to cover the fact that he has failed as a minister to sort out the morale problems in emergency services. He knows that Mr Stefaniak is getting close to determining that there have been systemic failures by him and his department, but particularly by Mr Corbell, to bring his CEOs and his commissioners to heel for what is a very serious issue regarding the morale of emergency services.
Mr Speaker, this is nothing but a diversionary stunt. In fact, it is bullying by a minister who allows bullying in his department to go unfettered. I absolutely object to and reject this motion.
MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (11.20): It is ironic, Mr Speaker, that we are here today with Mr Corbell objecting to being asked for material. This is essentially why we are here. This minister is a serial offender in relation to withholding information from Assemblies. We have to remember that back in 2003, after the estimates hearings, a privileges committee was set up to inquire into Mr Corbell’s failure to provide waiting list data to the estimates committee. On 3 November that year the privileges committee found that Mr Corbell was in contempt of the Assembly for withholding information from the estimates committee. This is another attempt by Mr Corbell to try and find a means of weaselling out of providing information, reasonably requested by the committee—on a number of occasions, I understand—of the minister.
The letter to which I understand Mr Corbell objects was one of a series of letters—not the last in a series of letters—that the minister received in relation to providing information to the Assembly standing committee inquiring into the operations of the Emergency Services Authority. This man, this minister, in his multiple guises, has proved to be a serial offender in withholding information. It is on the record, Mr Speaker, that he has been found to be in contempt in the past. This really is just an opportunity to get back at people.
The minister is under pressure for his administration and this is an opportunity to deflect attention away from him and his management of his department and in some way try to discredit the chair of the standing committee. It is a pretty poor attempt and it will be seen by those people in the community who have an interest in this matter as just that—a poor attempt. It is a poor attempt by a minister who is under pressure, a minister who has form in refusing to provide information when requested by the Assembly.
Quite frankly, if he were on the sporting field, he would be called a big girl for the way that he has carried on here today. He has been saying, “How dare the committee require me to do things.” The letter states, “The committee requests that you bring these documents with you.” No-one was demanding. No-one was invoking the standing orders. It was a request—a cumulative request. One after the other there have been requests in relation to this material. From listening to the proceedings it is my