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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 8 Hansard (25 August) . . Page.. 2354 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

I hope Mr Kaine will use the opportunity of this debate either to clarify and put on the table his allegations of corruptions, if he has any, or to withdraw any suggestion of corruption that he might have made, as he has already done in respect of the Australian Federal Police. That would be, I think, a statesman-like thing to do, and I think, Mr Speaker, it would be good for us to be able to indicate that we have not yet had demonstrated, and the onus falls on Mr Kaine, a need for an ICAC in the ACT, which is what this motion refers to.

MR STANHOPE (Leader of the Opposition) (11.18): I had not intended to take the time to speak to this issue today, but, in the context of the very long presentation that the Attorney-General has made, perhaps it is appropriate that I say a few words. To some extent I think Mr Humphries' speech has been an endorsement of the fact that Mr Kaine has moved his motion for the purpose of allowing an exposure draft for the creation of an ICAC to be tabled and to generate Assembly and community debate on a matter of significant importance, namely, the arrangements that we have in place in the ACT to deal with allegations of corruption or misuse of power.

I share many of the concerns that have been raised by Mr Humphries, and I will not beat around the bush about that. I am not sure, as I stand here, that I or the Labor Party will support Mr Kaine's proposal. I am yet to be convinced, even on the question of the resources that the establishment of a self-standing commission against corruption would demand, that such a response to the sorts of concerns that Mr Kaine is raising is justified. But I have no fear of the debate.

I think it is probably very healthy for a community from time to time to look at and to debate its capacity to deal with allegations of corruption or allegations of the misuse of power. Of course, it is easy to stand here and say, "Look, put up or shut up. Tell us where the corruption is or withdraw from the field. How dare you raise the suggestion that we have an independent commission against corruption if you are not prepared at the same time to lay on the table those allegations that you think demand the creation". That is just a classic head-in-the-sand response. It is a bully-boy tactic in a way.

I am sure there are millions of residents of New South Wales and Queensland these days who look at the appalling corruption that was endured in Queensland and New South Wales and now say to their governments, their parliaments and their elected representatives, "Why didn't you do something at the height of that behaviour?". All of us now look back at the activities of respective governments in New South Wales and Queensland. We have looked back at what has been uncovered by the police royal commissions in New South Wales and we say, "How did those elected representatives, those parliaments, deal with that issue? Did not a single politician at any time stand up and say, 'What are we as a parliament going to do about this?'".

Mr Moore: John Hatton said it on many occasions.

Mr Humphries: Yes, there were many people who said it in those parliaments.

Mr Smyth: There were many people who said it.

Ms Carnell: That is because there was evidence.

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