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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 5 Hansard (5 May) . . Page.. 1379 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General, Minister for Justice and Community Safety and Minister Assisting the Treasurer): May I speak again to the motion, Mr Speaker? I seek leave to make a few further comments.

Leave granted.

MR HUMPHRIES: I will be brief, Mr Speaker. Mr Stanhope's argument seems to be: "We have got this far; we had better go the whole hog". If Mr Stanhope is saying that it was an accident by which we ended up with these documents on the table and we might as well continue with that process, that is fair enough. I am not sure that it was an accident, Mr Stanhope. Nonetheless, you have not addressed the central issue here. It is about the protection of people who have the protection of the law. We can circumvent all sorts of privacy provisions built into all sorts of legislation. You are a former president of the Council for Civil Liberties of the ACT. Do you not feel a little bit odd about taking away the protection in this case of a particular individual who has that protection under the effect of the law?

Mr Stanhope: I certainly have a lot of feelings about what I have just read.

MR HUMPHRIES: I am quite happy to put this matter on the table, Mr Speaker; I have no compunction about it. But, as I say, this is not there for my protection. It is there for the protection of Mr Collaery.

Mr Berry: Mr Speaker - - -

MR SPEAKER: You will be closing the debate.

MR STEFANIAK (Minister for Education) (3.43): Just a few points, Mr Speaker - - -

MR SPEAKER: This is rapidly becoming a court of law rather than an Assembly.

MR STEFANIAK: Yes, it is a bit. I think the Attorney-General has made a very valid point. Regardless of politics and people on the other side of the chamber wanting to get the Attorney - I suppose that is all quite natural; it is the nature of the business that we are in - Mr Humphries raises a very valid issue in terms of the other party, Mr Collaery. No-one knows what Mr Collaery thinks about this matter. Mr Humphries, it is documented, has made a complaint about a certain matter regarding Mr Collaery and Mr Collaery has made a response. That is something that would have been dealt with in due course, in the normal course of events had things not happened today, by the Law Society and action would have been taken one way or the other. That would have been a matter for the Law Society.

Mr Humphries also raises the point of privacy. What is the difference between this situation and a situation in which, for example, someone had alleged criminal activity against a person - or any other act of wrongdoing, impropriety or whatever - and the police were investigating the allegation and someone wanted to publish details of that, including the allegations against the person? Let us say that the person complained about was subsequently found to be innocent.

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