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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 09 Hansard (Wednesday, 22 August 2018) . . Page.. 3378 ..

The Liberal Party’s attacks on unions are problematic in other ways. Members undoubtedly have read this week that Mr Hanson was sued for defamation by Dean Hall, the former secretary of the ACT CFMEU, for comments he made in public in 2016. The case was recently settled, and Mr Hanson has now been required to send a letter of apology and pay a $280,000 legal bill to Mr Hall, although Mr Hanson will not actually pay that bill himself, and ACT taxpayers will foot the bill.

Mr Coe: A point of order.

MADAM SPEAKER: Resume your seat, Mr Rattenbury. Stop the clock.

Mr Coe: On the question of sub judice, I ask whether it is appropriate for Mr Rattenbury to make those comments.

MADAM SPEAKER: Relating to Mr Hanson, where the matter has been settled?

Mr Coe: That is right. And has the matter been settled?

MADAM SPEAKER: It is on the public record, a public comment, that an apology has been made. I think you are referring to that public commentary, Mr Rattenbury?

MR RATTENBURY: On the point of order, Madam Speaker, I can assure Mr Coe that I do not have much more to go on this. I have made my point, which I think was in the newspaper, so I did not think it breached the rules. But I will defer to you.

MADAM SPEAKER: No, I would not have thought so, because it has been in the public domain. It is within order. But be mindful of other matters around sub judice, Mr Rattenbury. Please continue.

MR RATTENBURY: Yes, thank you. Mr Hanson also apologised to Mr Hall, and this letter has been published, so I feel I can note that he did apologise for suggesting that he had a criminal past. The apology reads:

I know that you do not have criminal convictions nor that you are facing any criminal charges.

To the extent my words suggested that you had any criminal convictions or are facing any criminal charges, I retract any such words and I apologise for any hurt and distress this has caused you.

Both this and the Lomax example underline the fact that you should not believe everything at first blush, that you should not jump to conclusions, that you should let processes play out in the normal way. On that basis we cannot support this motion today.

The fact that a charge has been laid means there is obviously some belief amongst those prosecuting it, but I think that it is fair to the secretary of the union, and to the union as a whole, that we do not prejudge that matter in this place, and certainly that we do not draw the sort of conclusions that the motion is suggesting we draw. The Greens will therefore not support the motion today.

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