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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 8 Hansard (25 August) . . Page.. 2356 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

quality of the exposure draft really just misses the point completely. The Labor Party is certainly happy for Mr Kaine to seek to lead a debate on the need for this. He will have a hard row to hoe to convince the Labor Party that it demands the Labor Party's support, but we are quite prepared for him to seek at least to make his case.

MR SMYTH (Minister for Urban Services) (11.26): Mr Speaker, for the benefit of some here, I will read the motion. It 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 in the Australian Capital Territory.

Ms Carnell: Mr Stanhope said he has not been convinced it is needed. He will have to oppose it.

MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, it is curious that the Leader of the Opposition would stand when there is such a serious motion on the table and say, "Well, look, I'm not prepared and I really wasn't going to speak". What does the Labor Party stand for? What are they going to do later today when we have to vote on this issue? This motion says that there is a need to legislate. What Mr Kaine is proposing here is a solution looking for a problem. There is no evidence of a problem. Mr Stanhope says, "How dare the Attorney-General get up and raise these points. How dare you do that. We are here to facilitate a debate". But that is not what the motion says. The motion says there is a need to legislate to investigate matters of official corruption.

Mr Speaker, this is a slur on the entire community that is Canberra. Canberra is a very compact community. Canberra is a very tight community and Canberrans, more than any other community in this country, know what is going on in their city. The networks that operate in the ACT are some of the most effective. Why are they effective? They are effective because we are a very well-educated body of people who deal with this material every day. Canberrans deal with legislation. They deal with government. They know what is right and wrong. They know how the system works. They know that we have an Auditor-General, they know that we have the right to conduct inquiries, and they know that we can set up royal commissions should there be a need. Mr Kaine claims that this is not to be a star chamber or an inquisition, but what he is proposing is a solution to a problem that does not exist.

Mr Stanhope said, "How dared the governments of New South Wales and Queensland tolerate official corruption. They should have done this long before". He said that nothing was done. But, as Mr Moore pointed out, Mr Hatton, for instance, in New South Wales called long and hard. There were voices there and when appropriate they should have been acted upon. But there are no voices here. There is no corruption here.

Mr Kaine says, "I have spoken to lots of the people in the community and apart from Kate Carnell and the Canberra Times everybody is in favour of it". Well, I have spoken to a lot of people who are really upset at the slur that he cast, particularly police officers.

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