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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 13 Hansard (16 November) . . Page.. 4210..


MR STANHOPE (continuing):

The coronial inquest is an ongoing inquiry in which a number of ACT public servants have a very direct and personal interest. Their reputations are very much on the line. At this stage it is not clear whether there is the potential or the possibility of an adverse finding being made against them. They have a very real stake in the outcome of that particular inquiry.

This is a matter, I know, Mr Stefaniak, of absolutely no moment to you or to the opposition. We know of your continuing disdain for public servants generally. We see it regularly, constantly and repeatedly. You disdain public servants, in particular ACT public servants. We see it in the constant remarks of Mr Mulcahy. He believes ACT public servants are overpaid. We see it the remarks made in the last week or two about the industrial relations campaign that is currently-

Mr Mulcahy: When did I say that?

MR STANHOPE: You say it constantly, Mr Mulcahy. It is on the record. Ever since arriving in this place, Mr Mulcahy has spoken against pay rises that have been granted by this government to public servants in the ACT. Mr Mulcahy speaks constantly against the ACT public service, their conditions of employment and their rates of pay.

Mr Smyth and Mr Stefaniak speak constantly against and undermine the rights of ACT public servants represented before the coronial inquiry. This question that has been asked in relation to legal advice goes, of course, to the rights, the standing and the position of ACT public servants. It is not just ACT public servants, but also the territory insofar as the territory is also represented and has an interest and a stake in the coronial inquest. At this stage that interest is not clear and has not been determined.

At the heart of the question, of course, and it is very much part of the theme that has been pursued these past two years, is a number of ACT public servants who have committed enormous amounts to this territory through their work. As far as Mr Smyth and Mr Stefaniak are concerned, they are completely, totally and utterly expendable. Every ACT public servant knows it. Every commonwealth public servant in employment in the ACT knows it. You will live to rue the day.

MR SPEAKER: The minister's time has expired.

MR STEFANIAK: I ask a supplementary question. Attorney, are you not confusing the professional privilege that applies to a client with your own position in commissioning paid advice that in fact leaves you free to release the legal advice concerning the bushfire inquiry appeal especially if, as you say, it is such good advice?

MR STANHOPE: I have been absolutely and rigorously honest in everything I have said about the basis on which I took the decisions that I took in relation to the action that was taken in respect of perceived bias by the coroner. It may be that at some stage, when the dust has settled on this matter and it really is history and the coronial inquest is over and the outcomes of the inquest have been concluded, it might be appropriate for the particular advice to be released. In that circumstance, I will release it, Mr Stefaniak.


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