Recyclopedia Britannica: MLA surfs web for $13,000 study tour report

Recyclopedia Britannica: MLA surfs web for $13,000 study tour report

A Canberra Liberals MLA cut and pasted the majority of a report on a $13,000 taxpayer-funded study trip to Britain from Wikipedia and other online sources.

Steve Doszpot's report on a four-day London seminar passes off material from Wikipedia, British government websites and the seminar's program as his own work.

Liberal MLA Steve Doszpot.

Liberal MLA Steve Doszpot.Credit:Colleen Petch

Mr Doszpot travelled to London for the Westminster seminar on parliamentary practice and procedure in June, during the Assembly's select committee on estimates hearings for the ACT budget.

The 10-day trip, which included the four-day seminar from June 17 to 21, cost $12,936, according to the study trip report.


Mr Doszpot's 23-page review, filed in August to the Legislative Assembly, is copied almost entirely from other sources, particularly the seminar's program.

The opposition's education spokesman copied the material almost word for word, except for the occasional change in tense.

One section on women in parliament is cut and pasted from the Wikipedia page for Baroness Jan Royall, the opposition leader of the House of Lords. Another page is largely copied from the website of British Labour MP Siobhain McDonagh, including that "she lives in Colliers Wood with her sister Margaret, within five minutes' walk of the house where she was brought up and where her mum, a retired nurse, still lives".

The report also uses tables from the British Parliament website that are outdated because the data is changed on a regular basis.

The introduction for the report is written by Mr Doszpot.

ACT MLAs can be reimbursed or given a cash advance for overseas travel on official Assembly business.

But they must submit details of that travel to the Assembly, including a report on any business or training undertaken.

Mr Doszpot said on Thursday the Assembly's clerk had checked his report before it was finalised and submitted. He said it was not his intention "to pretend it was anything other than what it is".

"Naturally I have used information sources to put this report together, but it was never my intention to pretend it was anything other than what it is," Mr Doszpot said.

"It is a report to demonstrate my attendance for the Legislative Assembly and provide background information on the event."

Education Minister Joy Burch said "if Mr Doszpot were a student submitting this report for assessment, he would get an 'F' for originality".

"We teach our kids that it's wrong to pass off other people's work as their own, and as the shadow minister for education Mr Doszpot should be setting a better example," she said.