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Mr Humphries: Like Wayne Berry.

MR CONNOLLY: Mr Berry did stand aside from the relevant ministry. Mr Berry was never accused of personal impropriety. There was never any allegation going to Mr Berry's personal conduct or personal propriety. He was accused of maladministration - I suppose that that would be the term - in relation to the conduct of the racing portfolio, and he stood aside from the racing portfolio while the inquiry proceeded.

I also note the crocodile tears of those who say that you should not debate the merits of a matter in the Assembly if there is an inquiry going on but you should wait for due process. An inquiry was conducted into Mr Berry's conduct - an inquiry which cleared Mr Berry of any wrongdoing, you may recall - but that did not stop the then Opposition from using the numbers and running a merits argument in this place. But, if you want to talk about precedent in relation to standing aside, the fact is that Mr Berry did stand aside from the portfolio to which the allegation related. There was never an allegation of personal impropriety. Mrs Kelly was not accused of personal impropriety. Again, the allegation went to maladministration. She did not stand aside during that inquiry, but she did resign later on.

The precedents in relation to personal propriety are well established. They were observed by John Fahey only last year in relation to the Griffiths matter. There was no question as to how John Fahey would act as Liberal leader in New South Wales. He acted quickly and decisively. The precedent was followed in relation to Alan Griffiths by Prime Minister Keating. A Liberal leader and a Labor leader both acted swiftly and effectively. There is no question that that is the appropriate standard to apply to areas of public administration of high sensitivity.

Only yesterday we saw an announcement from the Australian Federal Police, ACT region, for which Mr Humphries is the responsible Minister, saying that three police officers have been stood aside while inquiries proceed into allegations of sexual harassment. Nobody would say that those police officers had been found guilty as a result of that, and nobody would say that there is any finding of impropriety in relation to those police officers in the mere act of their being stood aside; but the senior management of the Australian Federal Police, for whom Mr Humphries is ministerially responsible, took the correct and proper decision to stand aside persons who were the subject of sexual harassment allegations.

It must be a very bitter pill for officers stood aside when they can say, “A standard of conduct is expected of us which is not expected of our ministerial supervisors. A member of the ACT Cabinet against whom allegations have been made is not required to stand aside; but I, as a serving police officer, am required to stand aside”. How can a different standard for those police officers be justified? If we were asking Independent members who are considering this matter - and I hope that they are considering it very seriously, as Mr Stefaniak said they should - to set a new standard, I could understand their reluctance. If we were asking you to pass judgment on conduct, I could understand your reluctance. If we were asking you to say that this should now be the standard required in Australian parliaments, I could understand your reluctance.

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