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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004-2005 Week 1 Hansard (8 December) . . Page.. 207..


MR SESELJA (continuing):

Minister. No-one would dispute that there is potential for that. There is potential for adverse findings against the Chief Minister for his actions in relation to the bushfires.

The same person, as Attorney-General, has a responsibility as first law officer to protect the integrity of the legal system. On the one hand, he is a witness who could have an adverse finding against him; on the other, he is the first law officer and has a responsibility to protect the integrity of the legal system. The question is: how could the attorney make an objective decision in such circumstances? No reasonable person could think that the decision taken to join the action would be an objective decision. He has a personal stake.

MR SPEAKER: Order! That is a matter that could be discussed in the courts and I would ask you to refrain from going to the issue. We have been through this debate before.

MR SESELJA: I know that we have, Mr Speaker. This is not going to the ruling that you made previously.

Ms MacDonald: Really?

MR SESELJA: No, not at all. It is clear that there is apprehended bias in this case.

MR SPEAKER: It seems to me that you are trying to create that impression. That is an issue that I have dealt with in earlier rulings in relation to this matter and I would ask you to refrain from that, otherwise I will ask you to sit down.

MR SESELJA: Mr Speaker, with respect, all I am saying is that as a matter of record we have an Attorney-General whose duty it is as first law officer to protect the integrity of the judicial process. We also have, as a matter of record, an Attorney-General who has appeared before the coronial inquest and could potentially face adverse findings. Nothing I said there is not well known publicly. This is the fact of the matter. Nothing I said there is not factual.

MR SPEAKER: Just refrain from referring to matters that could become evidence before the courts. As I have said to you, I will ask you to resume your seat if you continue.

MR SESELJA: Okay, I will steer away from the actual. There is certainly a perception in the community and there certainly could reasonably be a perception of bias. Of course, I have been shut down on that, so I will move on to the next point.

We have seen that Mr Stanhope is forgetful. Mrs Dunne touched on that. He has displayed that over a period. He cannot remember lots of things, which is unfortunate. There could be a concern in the community that Mr Stanhope's memory may affect his ability to do his job. He cannot remember the cabinet meeting, he cannot remember a lot of the details and he cannot remember a six-minute phone call. There are some patterns. I note that Carmen Lawrence was on radio today. She forgot lots of things and our Attorney-General certainly has a habit of being a bit forgetful.


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