Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 07 Hansard (Tuesday, 1 July 2008) . . Page.. 2442 ..
understanding that there have been a number of requests of the department for documents. This was one of the series. I understand from what Mr Stefaniak says that there have been subsequent—not requests—demands, which this minister, I presume, will refuse to comply with.
The only reason that the minister will not be held in contempt of the committee is that a Labor Party majority government would never be prepared to send Simon Corbell once again to a privileges committee. He is behaving in the same way and with the same arrogance that he displayed in 2003. He can get away with it now because he has the protection of the numbers in this Assembly. This is a stunt, Mr Speaker. This is a stunt by Mr Corbell. He is under pressure and he is trying to deflect that pressure onto somebody else.
MRS BURKE (Molonglo) (11.24): I want to add my support to Mr Stefaniak in this matter. It was interesting to hear Mr Corbell refer to abuse of powers in this place today. I think it is really rich coming from a petulant government that has moved this motion today. This is an abuse of power. It really is no more than a pathetic diversion. On today of all days, when we are supposed to be passing the biggest piece of legislation through the Assembly, the minister moves this motion. It is no more than a stunt. It is a trivial issue that could have been dealt with by the chairs of committees. Why did it get from there to there? Why not take the incremental step in the process? It is slightly disingenuous for the minister to talk about abuse of powers in this place. This motion is a diversion.
What Mr Stefaniak did was what every good chair would do when being hamstrung at every step to try and get information from a reluctant government—and what they were hiding, we do not know. Mr Corbell was asked and requested for the information. It was not demanded. Mr Corbell keeps using the word “demanded”. That letter was not a demand; it was a request. Mr Corbell duly complied with that request—bar some information that still needs to be tabled, I understand. Clearly the committee has been trying to get this information for quite some time. Possibly the letter embarrassed Mr Corbell, and maybe this is his little bit of rage. Maintain the rage, Mr Corbell, on Mr Stefaniak.
It is ridiculous that we are wasting time today. I support Mr Stefaniak. I will not be supporting the motion. I think we do need to know how Mr Corbell became aware of what went on in the committee. I think that would be interesting to know. It is a pity that this is the best that this government can do today to fill up the working day.
MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra) (11.27): I am speaking to the amendment. I note that the government is actually supporting it, which, I suppose, at least shows some consistency. But I do stress again the absolutely trivial nature of this. Yes, this committee will be established. Yes, it will probably take a considerable amount of time and unnecessary Assembly resources for what is a very minor matter indeed, which I have already discussed.
I discussed it with the committee. I have mentioned it here again today. I am not going to labour the point, but I think it shows a very strange mindset by the attorney if he wants to pursue this. That, I think, has got to be far more worrying than any oversight or anything else in relation to this.