Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 5 Hansard (6 May) . . Page.. 1457 ..
MR MOORE (continuing):
for other people to be caught up in it, and I say that because I have been caught up in those conspiracy theories of Mr Collaery. When you first meet Mr Collaery - and when I meet him now - he is always an incredibly charming man, a very personable man, but he has this particular weakness about bizarre conspiracy theories. I would say, Mr Speaker, that we would then need to ask ourselves: How did this information get out? Mr Humphries gave you two choices to look at as to how this information got out. It came either from the Law Society or from Mr Collaery's office. What was the point in making this information public? Mr Humphries did not make it public. Whoever made it public, if we are to use the arguments of Trevor Kaine, was not interested in the best interests of the Bender family, and that is something that we really need to think about. It seems to me, Mr Speaker, that the role of the first law officer - and that is what we are talking about; the motion refers to the failure of Mr Humphries to meet his responsibilities as the first law officer - was fulfilled correctly here because Mr Humphries had a concern about a lawyer in this Territory and he did not try to deal with it himself.
If he was embittered when he wrote that letter, what would he have done? We all know exactly what he would have done. He would have leaked the letter to the media or tabled it in this Assembly in response to a dorothy dixer. There was a whole series of ways that Mr Humphries could have done it had he been trying to get Mr Collaery. Instead, he handed it over to the Law Society to go through its appropriate process at arm's length from Mr Humphries, an arm's-length process that fulfils his responsibilities. Mr Berry raised this issue as well. I would argue that Mr Berry has fulfilled the same responsibility as Minister for Health in the same way. Mr Berry, was it not you who drew attention to a number of VMOs, certainly one VMO in particular, acting inappropriately? In fact, not only did Mr Berry pass that on through the appropriate bodies, as I would expect, but additionally - out of frustration, I guess - he raised the matter in the Assembly.
Mr Berry: I didn't do it in the middle of an operation.
MR MOORE: I would say that that was a responsible thing to do. Mr Berry interjects that he did not do it in the middle of an operation. Mr Berry, that doctor was doing operation after operation after operation, as you and I know. It was a responsible way to do it. (Extension of time granted) Mr Humphries did not do it in the middle of a process. Had he made it public, you could argue that. He did not. He handed it to the Law Society and the Law Society's processes are not public. We could have a debate about that because I happen to think that they should be, but that is a matter for another debate. At the moment they are not and Mr Humphries allowed the appropriate process to go ahead. He fulfilled his responsibility as a Minister very effectively. Mr Speaker, that is not something about which we should have a want-of-confidence motion. It is not something about which we should have a censure motion. It is not even something about which we should have grave concern.
Mr Smyth: A question on notice.
MR MOORE: Perhaps a question on notice would be an appropriate way. At question time is an appropriate way. Mr Kaine handled this matter in question time. But none of those three tools ought to be used in this matter. If grave concern should be raised, it is