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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 2 July 2008) . . Page.. 2610 ..

This Chief Minister relies on the numbers and has already shown us more than once that he will use them to save his own skin. This government has shown no interest in governing for the community, in answering to the community or even telling the community what it is doing.

Ms Gallagher did not say nothing untoward occurred. She said there were no documents relating to improper involvement. If documents exist that will clear the government of improper involvement, I would urge the government to release them. We may never know what nods and winks passed between Mr Stanhope, his officials and the proponents, and the government should table these documents to clear the issue. (Time expired.)

MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Minister for Health, Minister for Children and Young People, Minister for Disability and Community Services, Minister for Women) (3.52): I have asked my office to send down the papers that Mr Smyth referred to. In the 15-minute speech made by the deputy opposition leader, the allegation he raised was that the Chief Minister had been personally involved in withholding documents from the opposition through the FOI process. That is the central theme of his argument. Of course, this is an argument that cannot be substantiated or supported by any evidence. I imagine that, if it could, we would have already seen that evidence being put before the Assembly.

Mr Seselja: He is releasing some documents and choosing not to release others.

MR SPEAKER: Order! Mr Seselja, you will have a chance to speak on the matter in a moment.

Mr Seselja: I will.

MS GALLAGHER: The issue here, Mr Seselja, is that you are alleging that the Chief Minister personally withheld these documents. That is the argument, and if you are going to run with that argument, you need to prove it. It shows that Mr Seselja has a complete lack of understanding of the FOI laws, which surprises me, because he touts himself as a senior lawyer with experience in these areas.

The argument that Mr Smyth has put forward today is that the Chief Minister has personally looked at 1,922 files from the Chief Minister’s Department and has personally only allowed the release of 389 of them—that is, 20 per cent. So Mr Stanhope has personally approved the release of 389 documents and he has inappropriately interfered in the FOI process. That is the argument that Mr Smyth is running. Of course, it is one that he cannot support with any evidence. He can come in here and say it as many times as he likes, but he can’t support it with evidence, and that is what he needs. That is what he is desperately searching for and that is what he desperately needs.

In relation to the comments that I made in the Canberra Times, I stand by those comments. In going to my credibility and my ability to look people in the eye; I can tell you that I have no problem with my credibility and the community has no problem with my credibility; we all know that. My ability to look people in the eye and to let them know that whenever they hear me quoted in the media and whenever they see me talking, they know—

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