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The fact is that we expected the Government to apply to itself the standards that other governments apply to themselves, that Premier Fahey applied to his friend and colleague, that Prime Minister Paul Keating applied to his friend and colleague when Alan Griffiths was stood aside, and that our then Government, in effect, applied when, while an inquiry was going on, Wayne Berry relinquished the portfolio that was subject to allegations about his administration. But you have chosen not to apply those standards of conduct to yourselves, although yesterday we saw those standards applied to persons who conduct the business of public administration in this Territory. Serving police officers were asked to stand aside. I note that the police union took no objection to their being asked to stand aside. There was no difficulty there. The Police Association said, “This is appropriate. The matter needs to be investigated”. Of course, there is no suggestion there that there is any adverse finding against the officers.

In their desperation to defend what is a very significant weakening of the standards of ministerial propriety expected in Australian parliaments, this Government has two defences. Mr Stefaniak again raised in his remarks the point that there has been only one complaint. Ms Follett very strongly, but with due care for proprieties, made some remarks about how dangerous it is in this area of sexual harassment to be sending out signals that you need more than one complaint before action is taken. That is an appalling signal to send out. That has not prevented the Government, which is so desperate to accuse us of going into the merits of the case, from putting out innumerable statements attacking the veracity and motives of the complainant. In your statements she has been branded a liar; she has been branded an unreliable worker; she has been branded as somebody who was unable to carry out the duties of her employment. In your statements she has been accused of having political motives for making the complaint.

The merits have been gone into well and truly by the Government side in this debate. We refrain from going into the merits. Again, I make the point - - -

Mr De Domenico: You, of all people, should have known as early as January what was said. You know, don't you?

Ms McRae: Mr Speaker, on a point of order: Our side listened to the others in silence. Could we have a bit of order?

MR SPEAKER: Ms McRae, I uphold the point of order. I would ask members to cease interjecting from the Government benches. Continue, Mr Connolly.

MR CONNOLLY: I am happy to deal with that interjection, because it makes the point that this Government - - -

MR SPEAKER: No, Mr Connolly. Please continue with the debate.

MR CONNOLLY: This Opposition at no stage has used parliamentary privilege to canvass these allegations or to name names. Mr De Domenico was named, not by members of the Labor Party, but because the Human Rights Office decided to lift a suppression order. We are not the ones who have been dragging this matter up. We do not want to get into the merits of the matter; we do not want to get into the detail of the matter. We want to keep this argument to a matter of substantial high principle.

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