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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 2 Hansard (19 February) . . Page.. 349..


MR STANHOPE: It was the same as the question Mr Humphries just asked about whether I had discussion about the privileges of the parliament before agreeing not to oppose the injunction. I said that I did not have those discussions before instructing the ACT Government Solicitor not to object.

Mr Humphries: I rise to a point of order. My question to Mr Stanhope was about discussions with the Government Solicitor-

MR SPEAKER: Order! Your question has been answered and we will not be going back over it.

Mr Humphries: Mr Speaker, I am answering the point that was raised about relevance and the question already having been answered.

MR SPEAKER: You are defending Mr Pratt.

Mr Humphries: The standing orders provide that a question, once answered, cannot be asked again. I am pointing out that my question was different from that part of the question asked by Mr Pratt. I asked about discussions with the Government Solicitor. Mr Pratt has asked about discussions with you and the Clerk.

MR STANHOPE: No, I did not have discussions with either the Clerk or the Speaker between the 18th and the 24th on this subject. Yes, I did have discussions with others and, yes, the advice from the ACT Government Solicitor that was confirmed to me within a couple of weeks of that date was that I not table the report or release the report outside the Assembly. His advice to me was that it should be tabled in the Assembly in order to ensure that it attracted the appropriate level of privilege.

From that circumstance, from the time I received the report on 18 December and from the time that I received advice from the ACT Government Solicitor, I had not concluded a position on exactly when the report would be released; but, having received the advice of the ACT Government Solicitor in relation to privilege, I made the decision that I would not be releasing the report outside the Assembly. Under no circumstance was the report going to be released before today.

Isn't it good that it is being released today and isn't it good that after its release today, having regard to the work that my government has done and that my department of health has done and Community Care has done, we have in place a process that allows us as a parliament, as a government and as a community to take this issue forward and to concentrate on ensuring that we as a community deliver the best possible services that we can for the disabled people in the community? I genuinely hope, perhaps it is a forlorn hope, that when we get through question time today and I table the report the Liberal Party will find it within itself to stop playing politics with such a serious issue and that the opposition will find it within itself to accept that public servants do have rights and that in any issue around the balancing of rights there are complex and difficult matters that we have to face.

There are in almost any circumstance issues around balancing responses and balancing rights. There was a difficulty there. There always is a difficulty. I will address again in the tabling speech I make in relation to the Gallop report the difficulty of balancing, the


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