Page 2817 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 29 June 2011

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MS GALLAGHER: And I do apologise for the offence caused, Mrs Dunne.

Mrs Dunne: No, that is not the point.

MS GALLAGHER: Well, I do apologise, and I have apologised, and Mr Hargreaves has apologised as well. On all measures of the intention of what was said—the heat of the moment, the interjections that were going on across this chamber, the constant heckling by Mr Coe throughout last week, particularly aimed at Mr Hargreaves—the punishment that has been given to Mr Hargreaves is adequate for the interjection that was given.

MR SMYTH: A supplementary, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mr Smyth.

MR SMYTH: Chief Minister, you are quoted as saying as a consequence of this issue “people deserve and expect better from their politicians”. How will they ever expect better if you cannot or will not condemn your colleague?

MS GALLAGHER: The comments I made are true and accurate, and I think the community does expect better from people in this place. I know that I always measure my own conduct in this place, and in my time in this place I have never even been warned. I have occasionally been asked to withdraw interjections. But I certainly believe that the conduct in this place by a number of members—and there are serial offenders—needs to be lifted. And I think the community expects that. So the comments I made yesterday hold true.

I did sense yesterday, indeed in question time in particular—and perhaps it is because next time Mr Hanson gets named he actually leaves for a day—the behaviour in this chamber was much more appropriate this week than it was last week. Perhaps we have all learnt a lesson. But I am genuinely sorry for the pain that has been inflicted on Mrs Dunne. I do not think it is acceptable. I think the comments I have made have made that clear.

As to whether any further action needs to be taken, my own view is that the measures that have been taken, the discussions I have had with Mr Hargreaves, are appropriate.

MRS DUNNE: A supplementary question, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mrs Dunne.

MRS DUNNE: Minister, would you consider the comments acceptable if they were made about you, and would you be satisfied if the perpetrator said he was only “sorry for the offence caused” and not for the language itself? Would you be satisfied if you were told it was a “joke” and then told you had better watch your own language?

Dr Bourke: On a point of order, Mr Speaker, that contravenes standing order 117(c), asking for an expression of opinion.

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