Page 282 - Week 01 - Thursday, 16 February 2012

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Mr Speaker, we have had a pattern of behaviour over a number of years now that has seen Mr Hargreaves being removed from his position as minister and being censured by his own leaders of the time. Indeed, I think it ended up with one of those leaders saying he was on his last chance. Well, his last chance ran out last night. In the adjournment debate which followed a very amicable debate, I thought, on the needs of Tuggeranong and which saw all members participating in that debate praise the Tuggeranong Community Council, Mr Hargreaves came down here quite worked up and in quite a state to launch an unprecedented and disgraceful attack on a community organisation, a community organisation I understand that meets regularly with ministers and, indeed, the Chief Minister to put the case on behalf of the people of the ACT.

It is outrageous that somebody would use this place to launch an attack of that nature late at night. I do not know what happens after lunch or dinner when Mr Hargreaves comes in this place and he gets worked up, but to come down here and, without cause or need, to attack individuals who serve their community in a voluntary way and put an enormous number of hours and effort into looking after their community and advising all of us and helping shape policy and the way we deliver services for the territory is to be regretted in the highest terms. It is dishonourable to use this place in that way, and it brings us no credit as politicians when people come in here and attack volunteers. Let us face it, they are volunteers.

What did Mr Hargreaves say? Remember, Ms Bresnan moved an amendment to my motion—backed by Mr Corbell and accepted by us—that we would welcome the Tuggeranong Community Council’s efforts on Clean Up Australia Day and what a good organisation they are. What did Mr Hargreaves have to say? He said: “The shame of it all, however, Mr Speaker, is that he does go to that old persons club called the Tuggeranong Community Council, and he sees both of the punters that go to that, and then claims to have some sort of community connection, a community connection with this geriatric mob who just sit in their place, the both of them. It is nothing but a self-help group, Mr Speaker, and I wouldn’t feed them. I resigned from that mob. I will not go there because they are a self-interest group and I would not touch them with a barge pole.”

Mr Speaker, that is just not necessary. I note some staff are sitting there laughing over this, but we get to a point where we have to ask: what is the standard for this place? It is reprehensible to attack community groups in this way without any reason. The community council have changed over the last three years, and I would like to compliment Darryl Johnston on the way that he has handled the community council in the last three years. They have actually changed their constitution. They have actually worked harder to get into the community. They have put more material onto the website.

Indeed, it includes quite a broad cross-section. ACT police officers regularly attend, so I assume that at least one of those people that Mr Hargreaves refers to as “the old persons” and “both the punters” is the station sergeant from Tuggeranong police station who comes and gives a report. A number of people that appear before the council are ACT public servants, who have thanked the community council over a

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