Page 67 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 9 December 2008

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I will just respond to one particular issue which has just been raised, and that was around my lapse. I have apologised quite publicly to Mr Henry for a lapse in my concentration which led me to not provide a confidential Treasury briefing with the security that it deserved. I apologise for that. That was my lapse. It was my carelessness. My lapse led to a significant breach of Mr Henry’s privacy and I regret that enormously.

I think it does bear saying, though, and I think it is relevant that the file was left in this building. The file was rifled by journalists from the Canberra Times and the ABC. There was no respect for my personal property or the property of the government. The file was rifled. The contents were photocopies and the contents were used by the ABC and by the Canberra Times. I apologise and I accept full responsibility for the fact that I did not give that file the security that it deserved and demanded. I was to that extent responsible for the breach of privacy which Mr Henry suffered.

But it has to be recorded that in this building a file with my name on it was rifled by journalists that work in this place. I say this as a warning, perhaps, to new members and everybody in this place. If the ABC or the Canberra Times are invited into your office, be aware and be conscious of the fact that there does not seem to be a culture which suggests that it is inappropriate to rifle ministers’ files, to photocopy the contents and to take the contents away and use them in the way that the contents of this particular file have been used by the Canberra Times and by the ABC.

I am not for one minute suggesting that this was not my fault and that I am not responsible for this breach of confidence. But it needs to be understood that there were other aspects to this particular incident that do bear some reflection. Then there was the remarkable claim in the Canberra Times editorial today that I may have deliberately left it there. As if in leaving a file unattended—

MR SPEAKER: Order! Chief Minister, your time has expired.

MR STANHOPE: one expects the Canberra Times journalists would take advantage of that file and use it—

MR SPEAKER: Order! Chief Minister!

MR STANHOPE: I must say I never assume—

MR SPEAKER: Order! Chief Minister!

MR STANHOPE: that journalists in this place would work in that way.

Education—government investment

MS BURCH: My question is to the Minister for Education and Training. Would the minister advise the Assembly about how the ACT and commonwealth governments are working together for the benefit of ACT students?

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