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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 5 Hansard (5 May) . . Page.. 1380 ..

Mr Corbell: It is not sub judice.

MR STEFANIAK: Yes, it would be. I think you are really drawing a long bow. I think there is a really dangerous situation here, especially as regards Mr Collaery. If this material is published out there, that could well have unforeseen effects on him and his practice. I think the Attorney has a very valid point there and I would ask members to think very carefully before they act on this issue.

MR KAINE (3.45): Mr Speaker, there seems to be some concern about Mr Collaery's position in this matter. I want to reiterate, despite Mr Humphries' insinuations and assertions, first of all that the documents did not come to me from Mr Collaery. For all I know, they may well have come out of the Minister's own department. I have not spoken personally to Mr Collaery on the matter. But that objection has been anticipated. Since I tabled the documents, Mr Collaery has been contacted. He knows that I have tabled those documents now and he has no objection to their being published.

MR SPEAKER: Thank you, Mr Kaine. That also absolves standing order 46, I might add.

MR KAINE: I was speaking to the motion.

MR BERRY (3.46), in reply: Mr Speaker, I bow to Mr Humphries' superior knowledge of the Legal Practitioners Act. It adds weight to my argument that it seems that this matter ought to be given the full protection of the Assembly. I raised this matter because it struck me as a matter of extreme public importance and interest, given the circumstances with which it is associated. That was the principal reason for my rising to move this motion in respect of the matter. Mr Speaker, I think it is just a prudent move to deal with this matter. I must say from looking at the letters that there is nothing in there that I could discern as being defamatory, although I am not qualified to make a judgment in respect of that. I must say that I would be concerned if some of the things that are being said in there were said about me, but that is not the point.

The point at issue here is whether this matter should be given the protection of the Assembly. I think that it is in the public interest to do so. I do not think that it will interfere with due process in any event. Mr Humphries makes the point anyway that perhaps there is a strong argument to change the Legal Practitioners Act in respect of the secrecy that surrounds these sorts of things. I will end my contribution there, Mr Speaker, and merely ask members to support the motion.

Question resolved in the affirmative.


MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General, Minister for Justice and Community Safety and Minister Assisting the Treasurer): Mr Speaker, under standing order 46, I need to make an explanation. It is a very brief one. Mr Kaine said a moment ago that it is possible that this document was leaked from my department.

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