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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 1 Hansard (20 February) . . Page.. 3 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

in the law of the land. Most of what we do in this place is consensual. It is, I think, only his due that we could say that he has left a very indelible impression. It is an occasion to express, on my part, my admiration for his energy and his achievements, and to convey on behalf of the Government our best wishes for his new career.

MS FOLLETT (Leader of the Opposition): I seek leave to make some brief remarks.

Leave granted.

MS FOLLETT: It has not been a habit in the Assembly to make quasi-obituaries for retiring members, but I cannot allow Mr Connolly's future life to be blighted by the appearance that Gary Humphries is his greatest fan. So I am delighted to put on the public record my great admiration, and that of my colleagues, for Terry Connolly, and to say that it was very pleasant indeed to work with Terry in the years that he was in the Assembly. He was, as all members will know, a person of enormous intelligence and enormous wit. In a small team such as we have in the Assembly, that wit, that bonhomie, is an essential ingredient in running a good team; and Mr Connolly was very much a part of our team.

It was a great pleasure, and I think something of a privilege, to see such a progressive and enlightened Attorney-General at work and to be aware that, as Attorney-General, Terry Connolly was prepared to put forward any proposition that he felt was in the best interests of a fairer and more just society. As Mr Humphries has enumerated many of the legislative initiatives taken by Terry Connolly, I will not go over those again. But I think it is very apparent to anybody who looks at Terry Connolly's tenure as Attorney-General that the rights of individuals, the balance of our community in addressing the relative rights of the powerful and the less powerful, were always at the forefront of his mind. As Consumer Affairs Minister, he took a great many steps that were aimed at increasing the power of the little person in our community. Again I believe that his driving force has always been addressing the imbalance of power in our society.

It is indeed a great pleasure, and something that I know that my caucus colleagues are very proud of, to have enjoyed Terry Connolly's service as Attorney-General. It is my hope now that Terry Connolly will take that progressive and enlightened attitude onto the bench. I have no hesitation in saying that I think that the bench needs it. We have seen far too often, and far too recently, examples of what I regard as inappropriate treatment of many in our judicial system. Women, of course, have been particularly badly treated in the judicial system. The Federal Government report on equality before the law cites instance after instance where women as a class have been treated before the law quite differently from other people. We also have the prime example, in the report of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, of another group of people being treated differently before the law. So there is no doubt in my mind, and I have no hesitation in saying, that the judiciary needs to lift its game and ensure that that equality before the law is a fact and is perceived to be a fact by the community that they serve. I hope that Mr Connolly will therefore continue with his socially progressive and reforming zeal on the bench.

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