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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 09 Hansard (Thursday, 21 August 2008) . . Page.. 3423 ..

dinkum. If you do not want public funds used to employ relatives, then extend it across the spectrum and be genuine about it.

MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Business and Economic Development, Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Minister for the Environment, Water and Climate Change, Minister for the Arts) (11.08): I need to respond to the assertion made by Mr Mulcahy in relation to my attitude to this bill. He asks rhetorically what the Labor Party’s position is to employing our relatives. The Labor Party reflects its position and its view on that question through this bill. Quite clearly, it is the Labor Party’s position and it is the position of the government. The government has supported the bill that we are currently debating. That reflects our position on the question of the employment of relatives by members of this place.

Mr Mulcahy, as you say, you and I did discuss this issue. My position, as I am sure I expressed to you—it is has been my consistent position and I regret it if I did not make my position clear to you and you were misled—has always been that I support in principle the principle reflected in the legislation that Mr Berry has brought forward. That has always been my position.

I am on the public record. I provided that position to media at an interview within the last month—that my position is one of support in principle for the principle expressed in the legislation, but that I had a concern about potential disadvantage that that might cause to existing employees. In particular, I was interested in exploring the situation of a member of the government, namely, Ms Porter, and her relationship with her chief of staff, her partner. That was an issue of genuine concern to me and to my colleagues.

That particular issue is no longer an issue for me or for the government. Ms Porter has taken certain decisions in relation to the employment by her of her partner. That particular issue is no longer a real or relevant or current issue for the government. It is in that sense that I and my colleagues have agreed to support this bill as a reflection of the government’s position on the principle of members of this place employing their relatives.

My position that I expressed at the outset of this debate in relation to this particular issue is consistent and constant. I have always supported the principle, with a rider or a proviso that I was concerned that existing members of staff with familial relationships not be essentially dismissed as a result of the passage of this legislation. Ms Porter has taken certain decisions in relation to that. Ms Porter, I am sure, will actually give the detail of those as she thinks fit, but that is no longer an issue for me or for the government.

MR BERRY (Ginninderra) (11.11): I must say it gives me a great deal of pleasure to respond to attacks on my integrity by somebody like Mr Mulcahy. If you have a look at Mr Mulcahy’s history, you can pretty well determine why he would not know an ethic if it popped up in his porridge.

Mr Mulcahy: I raise a point of order, Mr Assistant Speaker. This is beyond the pale. His reflection on another member, I think, is well outside the scope of the standing orders.

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