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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 9 Hansard (22 November) . . Page.. 2277 ..

Ms Follett: Why have you gone back on your word? That is the question.

MR STEFANIAK: I do not believe, for a start, that I have. Mr Connolly, as my letter on 31 October indicated to you, the Government Solicitor has been instructed by the department to take a certain position after 25 October. I had discussions on Friday, 27 October, with my officers.

Mr Connolly: You have instructed them to reopen discrimination.

MR STEFANIAK: Mr Connolly, as I think I might have indicated to you on 18 October, there are a number of things in relation to damages claims that are relevant. It is very difficult to completely compartmentalise certain issues. A number of broad issues need to be looked at. When it was explained to me, as I then wrote to you, I have no real problem in relation to that. I suggest you read the policy and guidelines, which are more than your Government did in relation to this.

MR CONNOLLY: By way of asking a supplementary question, Mr Speaker: I still have no answer as to why the Government has gone back on its stated position, other than a legal technical argument that the AAT requires to re-examine the question itself. If that is your position - that the AAT requires the Government to formally reopen the question of discrimination - will you keep faith with your statement in this place, the statement of the former Government, and the perception that this Territory is fair dinkum on discrimination issues, by now instructing your department, having filed the contention, to not pursue the matter in the tribunal, as it is quite open for you to do so? I accept as a matter of law that the tribunal has said, "We want to look at discrimination". You must accept as a matter of law that you can instruct the ACT Government Solicitor not to pursue the point. Will you so instruct the Government Solicitor and thus attempt to keep faith with the community?

MR STEFANIAK: Mr Connolly, we have kept faith with the community by developing a policy, which I have tendered - a policy that is - - -

Mr Connolly: And which you are contesting in the tribunal.

MR STEFANIAK: Not necessarily. There is a legal matter now before the AAT which I understand will be dealt with in December. That has been explained to me now at some length. I can see no reason, Mr Connolly, to do as you say.

Mr Connolly: What an outrageous position! You have gone back on your word.


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