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This particular matter is to be heard by the Discrimination Commissioner. As Mr Humphries said, it is not a criminal matter. It is more akin to a civil matter, and totally different standards apply. As Mr Humphries mentioned, in criminal matters there is independent scrutiny by the DPP. There are a number of scrutinies that make criminal matters quite different from this one. The scrutiny starts when a complaint is made. Police detectives do their scrutiny as they gather evidence. Many a matter does not proceed beyond that point, because there is simply a lack of evidence. There is also an internal checking system within the police force. If the matter proceeds, it goes to the DPP, where it is subject to another independent checking system. In a number of matters the DPP says, “The police have presented us with this evidence. We do not feel that there is sufficient evidence to go before a court”. By the time charges are laid, you have been through a fairly rigorous process. There is ample precedent to suggest that if criminal charges are laid against a Minister there is a very strong case for that person to be stood aside. Of course, if matters are proven in any area, be it criminal or otherwise, the Westminster tradition is for Ministers to stand aside. There are ample precedents for that both in the British Parliament and in our own parliaments. The big problem here is that we do not have that type of situation at all; we have a very special kind of court.

We have a situation, too, of one allegation. As my colleague Mr Humphries said, similar allegations could be made by a person against him, against me or against Mrs Carnell - allegations that are not tested in any way and that might well drag on until the Human Rights Office process is finished. If Mr De Domenico is required to stand aside because of these allegations, Mr Humphries might have to stand aside tomorrow, I might have to the day after that and Mrs Carnell might have to the day after that. The same thing might happen to whoever replaces us - Mr Kaine, you, Mr Speaker, Mr Osborne, Mr Hird or anyone else.

Mr Moore: Me.

MR STEFANIAK: Mr Moore or the Greens. Allegations could be made against them. We would have complete anarchy. This Territory would not be governable. Dennis Stevenson would be absolutely delighted to see a situation like that. I think there is a very real problem here when one looks at the type of proceedings and the very dangerous precedent that could be set. I would ask members of the house to very seriously consider how they vote on this matter. Regardless of any of the rights or wrongs in this particular case, a very serious precedent could be set if members did vote in favour of this motion. I fear that it could lead to no-one being able to govern the Territory. We could end up with anarchy. I think members need to ponder on that before they cast their vote.

MR CONNOLLY (11.07): Mr Speaker, in opening the Government's defence in this debate, Mr Humphries made the point that he regrets that we are even having this debate. Indeed, the Opposition shares that regret. We should not be having this debate, because the established principles of appropriate ministerial standards are well known, are well established and should have been followed. We regret that this matter has to be brought on.

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