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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 24 February 2010) . . Page.. 550 ..


I could easily have suggested to the manager of government business that I sat on it, but I was not there at that hearing, because I had some knowledge of the issue. I could easily have said that, because I was not there, I would be in a position to sit on such a committee. But I said to the manager of government business, “I should not be considered for that because of the perception of fairness.”

I urge those opposite to consider the perception of fairness as much as the reality of fairness.

MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Minister for Transport, Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Minister for Business and Economic Development, Minister for Land and Property Services, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs and Minister for the Arts and Heritage) (10.12): I think there are some quite fundamental principles involved here, and it is as a result of the existence of those very fundamental principles around equity and justice that the House of Representatives Practice provides as it does, and that is a very clear signal to all parliaments in Australia.

Certainly, whilst we all accept and understand and know that there is a fundamental tenet in relation to justice—whether it be in the administration of justice or indeed in relation to the provision of procedural fairness—that every accused is entitled to face their accuser, it would be an intolerable and unheralded expansion of that fundamental right for an accused to have the right to face their accuser. What Mrs Dunne and the Liberal Party propose here is that the accused be judged by their accuser. That would be, as I say, unheralded and it would be intolerable. It is the case—and it is not over-egging but an attempt to simplify—that in this case, the accuser, Mrs Dunne, then becomes the judge, the jury and the executioner.

We have the person who raised the issue, who lodged the accusation, who has been very public in this place and in the public domain in airing her conviction that the case is already made, being the judge. There has been nothing measured in Mrs Dunne’s articulation of her concerns in relation to this issue. She has at no stage said, “There is an issue here that requires investigation.” Even after the privileges committee was established, she still talked in terms of the fact, not an allegation, of misleading. She has done it again today, describing all of us as victims. She again today repeats a concluded opinion before the investigation commences in terms of her view of the culpability of Mr Sullivan.

It would simply be unheralded in a privileges committee anywhere in Australia and intolerable that the member that lays the accusation then sits in judgement of the accused. That is simply intolerable, and it flies in the face of every tenet of justice or natural justice that a member with an issue moves the establishment of a privileges committee and then sits on the privileges committee in judgement of the issue and of the accused.

Just put yourself in Mr Sullivan’s shoes as he walks in to present evidence to a privileges committee and sitting there on the privileges committee is the person who made the allegation—the accuser. It is absolutely unheralded that a person should be


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