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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 10 Hansard (24 August) . . Page.. 3188..


MR STANHOPE (continuing):

state, except South Australia, and in the Northern Territory; that have not been considered an issue by any of the parties to the proceedings; and that have been fully disclosed-in fact, the contracts have been placed on a publicly accessible website.

This is an evolving debate and we are happy to participate. These matters are being explored in other jurisdictions as well. But Mr Stefaniak has repeatedly and blatantly distorted the argument. On 8 December 2004 he told the Assembly:

... we say ... he has exceeded his role by intervening here, by joining in this appeal. It goes contrary to the role of the Attorney-General ... is generally understood ...

What we are talking about here ... is a fundamental principle in relation to the separation of powers.

That is bunkum! In support of this argument, he had the hide to cite Dr Freckleton. Dr Freckleton, however, had not asserted that the action was a breach of the separation of powers. He never has; in fact, he has asserted to the contrary. He had merely pointed out that my action in joining the appeal was probably unprecedented, not that it was invalid or an unlawful option. But, most pointedly, in his media release of two days ago reflecting on the comments of the Chief Justice, Mr Stefaniak said:

These comments from the ACT's most senior judge confirm what community groups and the ACT Opposition have been saying since the Government involved itself in the appeal ... It's time now for the Attorney-General to acknowledge that he has compromised the separation of powers between the executive and judiciary, through his action in joining the ACT Government with the appeal ... against Coroner, Maria Doogan.

The comments of the Chief Justice do no such thing, and Mr Stefaniak must know that. He is not speaking the truth. Mr Stefaniak says I have breached the separation of powers, but what has Mr Stefaniak done with his behaviour?

Mr Stefaniak: Point of order Mr Speaker. Not speaking the truth.

MR SPEAKER: The substantive motion goes to the issue of misleading the people of Canberra and this Assembly; so I think it is appropriate. I mentioned the substantive motion. I should have said in the amendment. It has always been the practice here that if somebody wants to make these sorts of statements, they do so by way of a substantive motion. Part (2) of the amendment goes to the issue of misleading the people of Canberra and this Assembly.

MR STANHOPE: Mr Stefaniak says I have breached the separation of powers. But what has Mr Stefaniak done with his behaviour on this issue and in this motion he puts before the Assembly? The answer is simple and clear. He has distorted the words of the Chief Justice and politicised that office.

MR SPEAKER: Order! The minister's time has expired.

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (5.16): This motion from the Liberal Party asking the Attorney-General to stand aside would appear to be triggered by the front page of the Canberra Times on Saturday, with its headline that judicial freedom has been put at risk


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