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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 18 February 2015) . . Page.. 438 ..

grab any issue, but the fact that they are prepared to stoop to this, Madam Speaker, demonstrates just how bankrupt they are. They are picking on a man for doing charity work.

Everyone on this side of the chamber is here to give a voice to the voiceless, and I know most of those opposite are here to do that as well. But what we have not seen demonstrated in this sad and sorry episode for the territory’s parliament is any evidence of humanity and of respect for an individual trying to turn his life around. No, let us make the cheap political point because that is so much easier. Well, I hope you can all sleep at night with what you have done, because bullying people who do not have a voice in this place is not what we are about. It is not what we should be doing in this chamber. We have seen the damage it can cause, but it does not seem to matter.

There is nothing this man will not do to try and score a cheap political point, and that is where we are at in this debate now. Menslink have made a very clear statement; Minister Burch has made a very clear statement. All that is left for the Leader of the Opposition is petty political point scoring. It is Godwin Grech all over again. It is this pattern of behaviour we see where partisan political advantage is all that the Liberals can seek. Then we get the crocodile tears about Menslink’s reputation. As Mr Battenally said in his statement:

… hopes that the recent negative media does not suppress the responsibility of other organisations to demonstrate responsibility and integrity.

We will stand up for responsibility and integrity today, Madam Speaker. We, as a political party here to provide a voice for the voiceless, will not let this go without response. This is a disgraceful motion. The facts do not support it. The government will not support it. This Assembly should not support it.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (10.30): Colleagues, the issue like the one we are discussing today is perhaps the hardest sort of matter that we are called on to deal with in politics. There is much at stake. There are strong emotions. There are personal reputations at stake. There is a level of political strategy and drama. There are agendas and perspectives shaped by levels of information and where you sit. And there is intense media scrutiny.

Amongst all of that, we must do our best to sift through the clamour and try and decide what is the best outcome, what is the most objectively appropriate way to deal with the matter before us. That matter, of course, is the conduct of Menslink, Lloyd Burch’s volunteering role with them, and whether that is connected to Ms Burch’s role as a member of this place.

I think the facts have been reasonably well set out in that we know that Lloyd Burch was connected with Menslink. He then went into schools, ultimately more times than was allowed under the working with vulnerable people legislation. There is more to it, but I do not think I need to rehash the facts here today. I think they have been given quite an airing.

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