Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 5 Hansard (26 August) . . Page.. 1350 ..
MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, I think standing orders do not require me to provide legal advice to the Assembly. Mr Kaine ought to have been around long enough to know what the standing orders say. I am sure Mr Kaine is referring to the report which was referred to you yesterday. If it is reprehensible for me to have the report because it was stolen, as Mr Kaine puts it - I doubt that that is true, but let us assume for the moment that it is - it is equally reprehensible presumably for the Assembly to have it too, because it would be receiving stolen property.
MR KAINE: I have a supplementary question. Mr Speaker, that, typical of this Government, is a deliberate evasion of answering the question. Perhaps the Minister will do better with my supplementary question. I understand that the Attorney-General admitted on public radio that he had in his possession a Commonwealth Cabinet document to which he has no right. He is not a member of the Commonwealth Cabinet. If he has such a document in his possession, and he seems to have one, how can he reconcile that with the fact that it is against the law to be a receiver of goods knowing them to be stolen?
MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, he has asked the same question and I will have to give the same answer as before. I do not believe that the documents constitute stolen documents because the information has been provided in this way. I mean, what are you saying is stolen? The information in the documents, or the documents themselves?
Mr Kaine: The documents themselves. What you have in your possession.
MR HUMPHRIES: Look, I am not going to give advice on the matter because standing orders do not require me to do that. If you want advice on whether they are stolen or not, I suggest you go and ask for advice from somebody, from a lawyer. I am not required to give it. I must say, Mr Speaker - - -
Mr Kaine: A typical evasion of a question. Why cannot you be honest for once?
MR HUMPHRIES: I am not - - -
Ms Carnell: I take a point of order, Mr Speaker. Mr Kaine made some comments that were inappropriate and he should withdraw them immediately.
Mr Kaine: What were those comments, Mr Speaker? I would like to know what they were before I am asked to withdraw them.
Ms Carnell: Mr Speaker, Mr Kaine said Mr Humphries should be honest for once. Would he please withdraw that.
MR SPEAKER: Yes, I think - - -
Mr Berry: Mr Speaker, may I speak on this matter? Mr Humphries is the Minister who said that when in opposition he could then be honest.
MR SPEAKER: Sit down. I thought you might bring that up again. Look, there is a clear implication, Mr Kaine, please.