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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 5 Hansard (6 May) . . Page.. 1448 ..

MR KAINE (11.37): I will be brief, but there are some things that I would like to say on not only what Mr Stanhope has introduced, but also Mr Humphries' rather weak rebuttal of it. Some members think that it is a joke. It is not a joke; it is a very serious matter. I presume that the members of the Government do not think that it is a joke; they may believe otherwise. Mr Humphries spent almost all of his time in defending himself on taking up the question of the visit of a member of his staff to the Bender home. Of course, that matter has now become a question of whose affidavit you believe. Do you believe the affidavit of Mr Bender or do you believe the other affidavits that have been produced by the Minister in his defence? I do not know that we will ever know the truth of all of those affidavits.

I have one question of Mr Humphries, and it is on a matter that he did not deal with. I will just pose the question and leave it to people to answer it for themselves. Why did the person identified by Mr Humphries as X go to the Bender family and identify herself as a lawyer working for Mr Humphries? What was the point of that? If she went there as a representative of the Croatian community, why did she not identify herself as such? Mr Humphries did not attempt to deal with that and I think that it is a question that needs to be dealt with. It is a very significant part of Mr Bender's affidavit, as I understand it, and it raises a very significant question as to whether Mr Humphries knew or did not know that she was there or whether he had or had not discussed with her before she went there the purpose of her visit. Mr Humphries has made no attempt to deal with it.

Mr Humphries has avoided in his defence the major issue here, that is, whether there was any bias in his action in reporting a case to the Law Society for investigation or whether it was a totally free, balanced, equal, even action on his part. Yesterday Mr Humphries, in his response, thought it was strange that I had put this matter forward on Mr Collaery's behalf, given my previous relationship with Mr Collaery. The interesting thing is, of course, that I did not put it forward on Mr Collaery's behalf. I put it forward in the interests of the Bender family. That was my sole purpose in bringing up this matter and putting the papers before the Assembly yesterday. Mr Humphries is quite correct; Mr Collaery and I have never had a very even relationship. It has always been pretty bumpy and pretty rocky. He should answer his own question: Why would I put it forward in Mr Collaery's interests? The answer is that I would not. Mr Humphries pursued that matter even further this morning.

The question is: Was his action against Mr Collaery a biased action? He says not. Mr Stanhope raised this point: If he was so concerned about Mr Collaery's offending, why did he wait four months before he lodged his report? Mr Humphries has made no attempt to answer that. He was so concerned that it took him four months to report this matter to the Law Society. It is an interesting matter because much of what he said this morning had to do with damaging Mr Collaery's reputation, if you like, and what would be the purpose of that? He even introduced the fact that members of the Opposition had never had a very easy relationship with Mr Collaery. What was the purpose of all that? It could only be to denigrate Mr Collaery, to put him forward somehow in a bad light - his relationship with me, his relationship with Mr Berry, his relationship with Mr Wood. In fact, is the crux of the matter not rather his relationship with Mr Humphries?

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