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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 10 Hansard (6 December) . . Page.. 2704 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

I do not know whether we can prove whether Shell did or did not plead for clemency for these nine activists in Nigeria. I certainly cannot prove that Shell exercised any influence to call for their death or in some way to influence the Nigerian Government to hang these people. I think it is therefore a difficult position for us to accept that we should base our decision to penalise Shell in the ACT, and penalise particular Shell franchisees in the ACT, who are the people most immediately within our reach, on the say-so of some organisations who arguably do not have any direct information at all about this. Certainly, if there is direct evidence that Shell conspired to assist the death of these nine activists, it has not been produced in this place, or anywhere else for that matter, and I would ask that it be produced.

It is clear from the course of the last year that this Government is no friend of any oil company operating in this country, particularly not Shell. I must say that there is a certain irony in having this motion moved to take action against Shell. A few weeks ago, when the Government moved against Shell - not for what they were doing in Nigeria but for what they were doing here in the ACT against franchisees of petrol stations - we encountered some initial resistance from the Labor Opposition to taking that step. Ultimately, to give them credit, they did support the legislation. They were a bit mealy-mouthed, but they did support it. They had some initial opposition to the proposition that we should act against Shell in that respect, and now they say that we should be acting against Shell because of what it is supposedly, but without proof, doing in Nigeria. I find that a little inconsistent.

I also think it is dangerous for us to be singling out activities in Nigeria, and particularly the activities of a subsidiary player in this matter, namely, Shell, to be able to make some decision - - - (Extension of time granted)

Mr Berry: It is private members business.

MR HUMPHRIES: You get extensions.

MR SPEAKER: Order! An extension has been granted.

MR HUMPHRIES: Thank you, members. I note that we are getting through rather more private members business today than we used to get through on any given day in the last three years, but that is a matter for the record. Members can explore the Hansard records for themselves to see that.

Mr Berry: That is all right. We know that you will reciprocate when government business is on.

MR HUMPHRIES: Yes, I am sure. Is Shell, or for that matter Nigeria, the only or the worst case of international action that we ought to be dealing with in this place? There are a number of examples of regimes around the world that have engaged in quite outrageous use of public authority to murder and otherwise terrorise their citizens.

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