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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 3 Hansard (24 March) . . Page.. 778 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

or you have to concede that you were just slack. You were either incompetent or negligent, and you can choose. Perhaps you were both, but you cannot avoid one or the other. You were either incompetent or negligent. Perhaps you were both.

Mr Humphries: I was principled.

MR STANHOPE: You were principled!

Mr Berry: Maybe it is a cover-up.

MR STANHOPE: It is. I hate to run rumours and be a rumour monger to that extent, but maybe it is a cover-up.

Mr Humphries: You could have done it, Jon. Why did you not do it?

MR STANHOPE: Because we expected you to do it, Attorney.

Mr Humphries: Why? I said I was loath to do it.

MR STANHOPE: We expected you to do it, and you were incompetent or you were negligent in not taking it up. This problem can be fixed. It has been fixed by Mr Berry in this legislation and this legislation should be passed. There is nothing standing in its way. As a matter of principle, it should be passed. Arguments about retrospectivity are spurious and do not apply in the circumstances, and you know that. You know that you are covering up your incompetence. You should simply cop it and you should, in embarrassment, allow this legislation to pass. In fact, you should support this legislation.

Mr Humphries: This is unprecedented in this chamber.

MR MOORE (Minister for Health and Community Care) (4.18): This legislation is, indeed, unprecedented in this chamber. Mr Speaker, I quote William Pitt from 1783:

Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.

Mr Stanhope is one of those tyrants, from his defence of this legislation. Mr Speaker, he misrepresents the position of Mr Humphries. Indeed, I would argue that he misleads the Assembly in his misrepresentation of Mr Humphries.

Mr Berry: I take a point of order, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Come on! Be careful, please. This is a serious debate.

MR MOORE: Mr Speaker, I withdraw "he misleads". He goes dangerously close to misleading the Assembly if, indeed, he does not, and that would be a matter for another debate, because he says that Mr Humphries was either incompetent or negligent. I would say no, no, no. The one who is incompetent or negligent is Mr Stanhope, because Mr Stanhope received a letter - - -

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