Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 10 Hansard (6 December) . . Page.. 2706 ..
MRS CARNELL (continuing):
I think it would be somewhat presumptuous for this Assembly to determine, on a briefing note and what we have read in the newspapers, that somehow Shell was to blame, when Gareth Evans and our Federal departments have yet to make that determination. Like other speakers, I believe that the rest of the motion is very much in line with the Assembly's feeling on this horrendous behaviour by another government, but paragraph (3) does call for a decision that I do not believe this Assembly can make.
MR MOORE (11.56): Mr Speaker, I rise to support the general sentiment that has come through the Assembly today. I think most, if not all, members of the Assembly are members of Amnesty and as such express their disgust at the notion of capital punishment, even more when the capital punishment is applied for political reasons. The issue on which there has been a great deal of concentration is that of Shell, and we have heard both sides of that. The first two paragraphs of this motion are the critical ones, that is, that this Assembly condemns the Government of Nigeria and that that sentiment in turn be passed on to the Nigerian Government through its high commission. How much Shell has been involved is an issue that each one of us is going to continue to look at and try to keep an open mind on. Wherever there is involvement of any company in any way such as this, it is very important for us to ensure that we take appropriate consumer action to emphasise the impropriety of such conduct. I am happy to support the motion and to join with this Assembly in ensuring that we affirm that capital punishment is something we abhor.
MS FOLLETT (Leader of the Opposition) (11.58): I thank members for their comments on this matter. At the outset, I would like to say that the Labor Opposition will be supporting the amendment put forward by Ms Horodny, and we are happy to do so. I think it is an appropriate course of action to take. In the interests of obtaining a unanimous resolution on this matter, which I think is possible, could I indicate to the house that I would be prepared, if leave were granted, to withdraw paragraph (3) of my motion, on one condition, and that is a condition that I have discussed briefly with Mr De Domenico. That condition is that people who hold a fuel card are issued with an alternative to the Shell fuel card, which most of us have. I understand that some people using ACT Fleet vehicles do have other cards. Mr De Domenico has assured me that he will undertake to make alternative cards available to those who want them. On that basis, I would be prepared to withdraw the third part of my motion, if leave were granted.
MS FOLLETT: I thank members. I think a unanimous resolution is a much stronger resolution, and it does seem to me that we can now obtain a unanimous resolution from the Assembly. That unanimity will therefore be conveyed to the Nigerian High Commission and also to the Federal Government, which, as Mr De Domenico has explained, has the major contracts with the Shell company, contracts which are in a fairly vulnerable state at this stage, I believe. What we are doing by passing a unanimous resolution is increasing the pressure where it could do the most good.