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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 10 Hansard (25 August) . . Page.. 4244..


MR STANHOPE (continuing):

next question of course-the subliminal question, the question not asked but the question intended-is: and whom were you with? And what were you doing with that person with whom you were? These are the obvious corollaries; these are the unasked questions. This is where this line of questioning leads.

This is an appalling, offensive invasion of my privacy and of my rights as a human being. It is offensive in the extreme, and it concerns me greatly that none of you understands that. That is what I find so difficult and so offensive. What cuts me to the quick about this motion is how offensive it is to my individual rights and not a single one of you understands that.

MR SPEAKER: I would remind members of my comments on 21 October 2003 when I attempted to discourage members from dealing with matters before the coroner. That is a matter for this house to determine. I cannot determine it from this place, but I repeat my concerns about issues that affect this coronial inquiry being canvassed in this place.

MS TUCKER (11.02): I will speak briefly to this. As Ms Dundas said to me, I am really only speaking because I imagine the Liberals are going to be calling a division on this, in an attempt to make some political point. I cannot imagine what they think the point is that they are making.

There are two points that I would make. I am intrigued by this, in that I have no idea what exactly Mr Pratt thinks he is achieving by asking this question. I listened carefully to what he said and he went through questions he had asked. The only thing that made any sense to me, from what he said, was: what were you doing about the threat of the fire? That is a legitimate question. It should not be asked, of course, at this point of time because of the coronial process that is occurring. But let's just say we are looking at the logic of what Mr Pratt is asking the Assembly to demand of the Chief Minister. It was not: "What were you doing about the threat on that night?" It was: "Where were you?"

Mr Pratt: What do you think that relates to?

MS TUCKER: Mr Pratt explains, "What do you think that leads to?" That does not have to lead to anything. The question that may be of interest, if there were not a coronial process into it, is: "What were you doing about the threat?" As we have a coronial process, that is an inappropriate question to be asking.

But now his question is: "Where were you?" He said that he had asked it, actually, several times. Mr Stanhope said he was in North Canberra. But that is not good enough. He wants to know more detail. "Where were you exactly?" Why? I still have not heard an explanation from Mr Pratt. What is so significant about exactly where he was, in terms of what he was doing about a threat that, as I have already said, is a question we should not be asking at this point?

I absolutely agree with Mr Stanhope. When I saw this motion I thought it was very offensive, and I am very surprised that everyone on the Liberal Party side of this Assembly does not understand that, as Mr Stanhope just said.

I want to hear-I am interested to hear-what you will say in defence of this and how you explain to us that this is going to reach the heart of the matter, apart from explaining


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