Page 1540 - Week 05 - Tuesday, 31 March 2009

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Personal explanation

MS PORTER (Ginninderra): Mr Speaker, I wish to make a personal explanation under standing order 46.

MR SPEAKER: Thank you, Ms Porter. Please proceed.

MS PORTER: Thank you, Mr Speaker. I wish to correct the record regarding comments made by Mrs Dunne last Thursday, surrounding reports in the Canberra Times relating to the motion listed in my name on the notice paper last Wednesday. Last week, during the adjournment debate on Thursday, 26 March, Mrs Dunne said, in relation to an article in the Canberra Times on general practitioners, that I had issued a media release. Mrs Dunne claimed:

She put it out. She put it out and said, “This is what I did today.” She did not have the decency to tell the reporter that she did not quite get round to it.

Mrs Dunne obviously did not check her facts. If she had, she would have discovered that I did not provide a media release to the Canberra Times or to any other media outlet on this matter. On Wednesday of last week, my office was contacted by a Canberra Times journalist, who sought to clarify the wording of the motion listed under my name on the notice paper. The journalist indicated she was not in the Assembly on that day to follow proceedings. Following on from this conversation, confirmation of the wording of my motion was provided to the Canberra Times by my staffer via email.

Following on from this email, the journalist contacted my office again and once more highlighted the fact that she was not present to observe proceedings and thus sought confirmation that my motion had been or would be moved. My staffer indicated that my motion was the eighth and final item on the agenda and its consideration depended on how much time debate on the other items preceding it on the notice paper took up.

Following on from this conversation, the journalist sought confirmation once more that the motion had been moved, this time via email. As my staffer had left the office to attend an appointment and did not return to the office that afternoon, the email was not responded to and confirmation was not provided. My media adviser was not contacted by the journalist to confirm the status of the motion. My media adviser did not issue a media release relating to the motion because (a) I have found embargoes surrounding media releases are not necessarily respected, even when one expressly withdraws the media release and (b) such a release would be premature given that my notice was last on the notice paper and unlikely to be reached.

On Thursday, the Canberra Times falsely reported that my motion had been moved and consequently included a correction to this report in Friday’s Canberra Times. However, they claimed that this error was a result of incorrect information provided by my office. I wish to correct the record in relation to whether my office provided confirmation that the motion had been moved. It did not. I agree with Mrs Dunne that one should always maintain good relationships with the media, and that is why I rang

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