Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 09 Hansard (Thursday, 21 August 2008) . . Page.. 3422 ..
under the province of the Speaker. He has been quite happy to live with different ground rules under the administration of this Assembly, but he wants to have different rules applying in relation to parliamentarians or members of the Legislative Assembly and their staff.
I do not have a major issue with the whole matter of whether you employ a family member. I think it is up to members as to whom they employ. I spoke to the Chief Minister about this issue. He has certainly had a change of heart from when we discussed this only two weeks ago, as has Ms MacDonald, whose name is on the report recommending the exact opposite to this.
Mr Stanhope: I raise a point of order, Mr Assistant Speaker. That statement misrepresents my position and—
Mrs Dunne: That is a debating point. You can stand up and speak about it later.
Mr Stanhope: Well, it may be a debating point, but I need to draw attention to it. I will respond to it in the debate.
MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Mr Gentleman): Mr Stanhope, respond in the debate.
Mr Pratt: Point of order. Standing order. Didn’t you hear the warning again?
MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER: Order, Mr Pratt!
MR MULCAHY: There has been a change of position. I guess people are entitled to change their position on these issues but, as I read this particular bill now, it would impact adversely on people. I do not see it has the grandfathering provisions, unless someone can point that out to me. I am concerned that it could potentially impact people who are presently employed.
If I have misrepresented the Chief Minister in our brief discussion about this, then I am more than happy to apologise to him, but my understanding from him was that it was not intended to impact on people already employed. In relation to Ms Gallagher, I do not have an issue with the fact that her partner is employed in the place. My point about this particular clause, clause 4, is that you cannot set one set of rules in relation to employing family members in members’ offices and then turn around and say it is okay.
After that dissertation about taxpayers’ money I find it comical that the Speaker can preside over an Assembly where it is okay for one of his ministerial Labor colleagues to employ their partner in this place. You tell me that is being fair dinkum, but I find it very hard to be convinced.
I am concerned about a lack of genuineness on this matter. I think members ought to be able to make their own decisions. I have no intention of employing relatives. I know the Liberal Party have a policy where they basically do not approve of people employing members. I do not know what the Labor Party policy is. I assume they do not have one. I gather it was raised by Mr Berry in 1995—unsuccessfully, I gather. I certainly think that if you are going to do these sorts of things you have got to be fair