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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 7 Hansard (2 July) . . Page.. 2088 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General, Minister for Justice and Community Safety and Minister Assisting the Treasurer) (10.41), in reply: Mr Speaker, I welcome the support of the Opposition to - - -

Mr Berry: Provided you stop squealing that we never support you.

MR HUMPHRIES: I am very gratified to have your support on this occasion. Support is fine. It is a serious problem and I am glad it is about to fixed. One thing that is not clear at the moment is where we go from here in terms of the problem that the law has been broken.

This week in the Assembly we have had a very serious principle enunciated by the Assembly about breach of the law by officers of government. Do not forget that the Magistrates Court and the judiciary is an arm of government. It is one of the three arms of government in the Westminster system. We have had this extremely serious principle stated on the floor of the Assembly this week - that where the law is broken, intentionally or unintentionally, there needs to be some accounting for that, some action about that. We have here one of the most serious breaches of the law that it is possible to imagine. We have 600 domestic violence orders of the court being made illegally.

I am not reflecting on the vote earlier this week but we raised in the course of debate earlier this week the implications of illegality in those circumstances, and members were very keen to make the point that governments and those responsible must account for illegality. We laid down some very important principles there. The Chief Minister and Treasurer suffered the indignity of censure on the floor of the Assembly on account of what was attributed to her as a mistake, a serious mistake, in the administration of the law.

Mr Speaker, I put it to members of this place that we have had here a serious mistake in the administration of the law by somebody in respect of the administration of the Magistrates Court. I ask members to explain in the course of the detail stage - we have to have a detail stage debate because there is a typographical error - why it is that there is apparently considerable calm in this place about this breach of the law. There have been 600 invalidly made domestic violence orders in the ACT over a number of years. Where is the outrage on the part of members about that? Why is that, apparently, unimportant? Apparently that is a matter of no great concern to members of the Opposition.

Mr Quinlan: Hey, the debate is over.

MR HUMPHRIES: The debate on this issue is not over, Mr Quinlan.

Mr Quinlan: The one you are talking about is.

MR HUMPHRIES: Okay, I am happy to respond to the interjection from Mr Quinlan. Mr Quinlan is quite right; the debate is over on the other matter, and the outcome of the other matter is clear. The outcome of the other matter was that the head of the ACT Executive, the Chief Minister, was censured by this house because she had presided

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