Page 2158 - Week 06 - Thursday, 7 May 2009

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .

Unfortunately the framing of Mr Seselja’s amendment will not meet that criterion. So the question now is that Mr Corbell’s motion be agreed to.

MS BRESNAN (Brindabella) (6.39): I will speak briefly to the motion which has been put forward. I can understand Ms Gallagher wanting to address this matter and to have it addressed in the Assembly. The content of the webpage was offensive and, I think, particularly sexist. As a fellow female politician, it is something which just cannot happen; it has to be addressed; and we cannot let these sorts of actions take place because I think they not only demean women but demean women’s role in politics as well.

During elections I guess things do happen but I do find it a little hard to believe that during the election campaign it was never picked up at any stage by the Liberal Party and that someone in the party did not think, “Perhaps we had better put a stop to this because it is something which could potentially get us into trouble.” So I do find it unusual that that did not happen.

We have just been told the amendment by Mr Seselja was out of order but I do appreciate what they were putting forward with that. It is something that we have to all take responsibility for as members of the Assembly, as politicians and as members of political parties, that this sort of action is not condoned, that we do put a bit of respect in the roles here and that we do try to stop this sort of content being put forward on web pages, because it is inappropriate and something we cannot allow. In a fairly, already, I would have to say, male-dominated area, which politics is, it does not make the job easier for women when we have to put up with that sort of information being put forward.

Again, I do understand why Ms Gallagher wanted this put forward. I think it is something which was offensive and it did obviously impact on her greatly.

MS HUNTER (Ginninderra—Parliamentary Convenor, ACT Greens) (6.41): I have to say that I am not impressed with the fashion of establishing these false websites and Facebook pages as a form of political agitation, particularly when they pursue sour and personal lines of attack. I pick up on Ms Bresnan’s point that it was an outrageous slur on Ms Gallagher to have this fake website out there, and I condemn all of those people who were part of putting that website together.

I certainly do not take the view that someone who has been defamed in this way, which is how I see it, ought simply to accept that this is all par for the course, that this is the rough and tumble of political life or that those responsible should not be held to account. This is not acceptable. It is not a way that any of us should be conducting ourselves, or allowing staffers or party members to conduct themselves either.

I think that politicians and people who work with them and people who act on behalf of political parties that are represented in parliament have an onus to be upfront about their actions during election campaigns and more generally. None of us are perfect and none of us would necessarily like every one of our personal actions to be held up for judgement. I am talking here about a matter of degree. I do not think it is hard to

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .