Page 3794 - Week 10 - Thursday, 27 August 2009

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

I did not refer to or mention any departmental official. She is responsible for her department, and I invite you to read my evidence with regard to the FOI Act and ministerial responsibility. Indeed, the Chief Minister and his entire cabinet’s position on this issue is full of contradictions that are on the record. In 2001, Jon Stanhope, who was the Leader of the Opposition said:

Labor rejects the corruption, for instance, of the freedom of information process that has characterised the years under the Carnell-Humphries governments, a corruption of process …

So Mr Jon Stanhope described the government’s FOI process as corrupt and pointed a finger at the Carnell-Humphries government in 2001. But this is the same Jon Stanhope who would mock our wraith in the Assembly when I said that the FOI process in his government had been misused. He claimed that I had defamed public servants, that they should sue me and that he would help them. But I ask, by his own rationale, by his own standards, did he defame public servants in 2001? Did he get sued? Did he get letters from the department heads advising him to withdraw his statements? If not, what has changed in the last eight years?

It is Ms Gallagher who should have responded to my concerns herself. Instead, I received a letter from Mr Cormack advising me to withdraw my press release. In my opinion and in the opinion of the expert legal advice that I sought, Mr Cormack’s letter contained a veiled threat that if I did not withdraw my press release I would be subjected to action by him. Indeed, this was confirmed by many of the statements and comments made from the other side of the Assembly when the motion was put forward.

Seen in context, Mr Cormack’s letter was an attempt to influence me in the conduct of my duties as an MLA and, as such, was contempt. Regardless of the findings relating to contempt, it was an entirely inappropriate response. Indeed, the committee were unable to find that his response was appropriate, because it was not. I note the comment from the minutes that Mr Smyth read that it was found to be ill advised.

The matter of contempt has now been dealt with. The reason I have not brought other matters on is because, whilst dealing with a matter of contempt before a privileges committee, it would have been inappropriate to do so. However, I think it is timely now to again deal with the initial issue of the FOI and also the denials to the estimates committee by the minister and her officials about the plans for the cellar door.

The minister needs to review Hansard with regard to contradictory statements that have been made by herself and her officials. I think that we now all agree that the plans did exist and that they always existed. We have statements and written evidence that confirm this. Ms Gallagher needs to address why she and her officials denied that the plans existed or that they were aware of such plans.

Ms Gallagher: Do you like the bush healing farm, Jeremy? Do you want the bush healing farm?

MR HANSON: Misleading a committee of this Assembly is a very serious issue, as the minister is aware.

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