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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 5 Hansard (6 May) . . Page.. 1454 ..

MR BERRY (continuing):

Mr Berry has quite deliberately targeted people in relation to the implosion request. I've no doubt he sees this as a way of maximising damage to the government over the implosion inquest, believes he may catch some big fish by widening the operation of this law.

An earlier paragraph says:

Attorney-General Gary Humphries says the legislation is obviously aimed at the Chief Minister, but could actually penalise workers.

That is not something that I ever said in the debate in relation to this matter, nor something that any evidence has supported in this place. The fact of the matter is that the Attorney-General, by saying that, demonstrates whom he had set out to protect in his refusal to deal with this legislation. He has damned himself with his own words. By saying on the public record that that is what he thought the legislation was about, the Attorney-General demonstrated more clearly than ever what he was about. He accused me of widening the net because he wanted to narrow it. That is why he took no action on the occupational health and safety legislation. There are many puzzled lawyers in this place wondering why, other than for those reasons, this Attorney-General could take the position that he did. He was protecting a particular interest, in my view. I think he damned himself with his own words. He damned himself with his accusations against others. (Further extension of time granted)

Mr Speaker, in summary, this motion is about a sequence of events which draw the credibility of this Attorney-General into serious doubt. In the first place, there were obviously many questions arising out of the complaint and the timing of the complaint raised by Mr Humphries in respect of Mr Collaery. It is a thin complaint, an extremely thin complaint. In my view, it has no chance of support and could only have had the intention of distracting the lawyer representing the Bender family. Mr Speaker, its timing, as I said, is curious. The activities of the Government on the occupational health and safety legislation were appalling and, in my view, raise more questions than they answer. But if you look at the Minister's words, I think you will discover more about the Government's reasoning in respect of that.

Mr Speaker, the attendance of staff from Mr Humphries' office at the Bender home, as raised here by way of affidavit, merely confirms that something is wrong. Something is dreadfully wrong in the Government's performance here. It confirms that there is a strong smell of fish about this matter. This Assembly cannot afford to take risks with people who may have behaved in this way. It is not a risk worth taking. Mr Speaker, some will say that the evidence is only circumstantial and some will say that it is not backed up by hard evidence. I say there is enough in the issues which have been raised here so far this morning to damn this Minister. Some of them by themselves would be adequate, in my view. Mr Speaker, this motion deserves the support of all members of this Assembly. I go back to my original point. This is the end of a personal vendetta where the Minister's judgment has been impaired. The Minister's judgment has also been impaired by the conflict of interest he has had in relation to the matters which he has - - -

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