Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 8 Hansard (25 August) . . Page.. 2348 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (Treasurer, Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and Community Safety) (10.56): Mr Speaker, I rise to indicate the Government's very serious reservations about the motion and about the Bill which Mr Kaine has tabled today. Mr Kaine said he found the reaction of the Government, particularly from me, quite predictable in that we were very lukewarm about his proposal. I think he failed to mention that there were others who were very lukewarm about the proposal as well, not just on this side of the house but also in other places such as the Canberra Times that he quoted before. The reason that he would have expected people to be lukewarm about it is the very many serious concerns that would be raised about the proposals that he has brought forward.

Mr Speaker, let me start though by trying to set a scene for this debate. It is an easy thing to make allegations in this place. All of us are aware, after sitting in this place for a relatively short time, that we have immense power to be able to say things and to have those things reported in the media; to have our views aired and our slightest comments, our throwaway remarks, our smallest contributions to a debate or to an interview, reported in television and radio bulletins and in the pages of the Canberra Times and other publications. I think, over a period of time, we develop a sense of caution about how we use those powers to make accusations, to accuse people or institutions, and use the privilege of this place to say things with immunity for the consequences that other people face when they say them out on the street or in other places. Therefore it concerns me greatly to hear Mr Kaine, who has been in this place for 10 years, and its predecessors for periods before that, talk about such things as the creeping cancer of corruption, disturbing revelations of corrupt behaviour and so on in a speech to the Assembly, but not put a single instance of such corruption before the Assembly.

Mr Berry: He doesn't have to.

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, I argue that Mr Kaine does have to because he puts a motion before the Assembly which says:

That the Assembly notes the need to legislate for the establishment and operation of an independent statutory body to investigate matters of official corruption ...

Where is the need? Surely, under privilege, Mr Kaine would have the capacity to indicate even one or two examples of corruption, official corruption, to give us the meat on which we might dine in this exercise.

Mr Kaine made reference to the situations in New South Wales and Queensland where such bodies have been established. It is quite appropriate to refer to those places because in those States there were very serious problems with corruption. The New South Wales Independent Commission against Corruption was established against the backdrop of the imprisonment of a former Chief Magistrate, Mr Clarrie Briese, and a former Cabinet Minister, Rex Jackson. There were trials of senior officials and the controversy surrounding the circumstances of the discharge of the Deputy Commissioner of Police at that time in that State. There was real public concern about institutionalised police

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .