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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 10 Hansard (14 October) . . Page.. 3154 ..

MR SPEAKER: Not by the Attorney.

MR HUMPHRIES: It was just a question, Mr Stanhope.

Mr Corbell: On the point of order, Mr Speaker: If the Minister will say that the words are attributed to Mr Hird and not to the Minister, perhaps the Minister needs to rebut Mr Hird's allegation.

Mr Moore: I take a point of order, Mr Speaker. This place drips with hypocrisy. What have we heard over the last three or four days? That side of the house are saying - - -

MR SPEAKER: There is no point of order. Order! The house will come to order. Stop wasting the Assembly's time. Please resume your seat, Mr Moore. Mr Attorney, continue with your answer.

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, as I was saying, it seemed to me to be commonsense to align the ACT practice both with what happens in other States and Territories in Australia and to make sure that the same rights of appeal exist with respect to coronial findings as exist with respect to perhaps every other kind of proceeding which one might make in a court or tribunal in this Territory. That is a very straightforward and a very obvious approach to law reform which I would have thought members would have been quite happy to adopt. But, Mr Speaker, we had comments from Mr Stanhope earlier this week in which he questioned and thought it was odd that the Government should be bringing forward debate on this matter in the course of this sitting week. Those opposite felt it was odd that it should be happening in conjunction, supposedly, with the arrival of the coronial findings with respect to the Royal Canberra Hospital implosion.

Mr Speaker, let me say, first of all, that there is nothing odd whatsoever about wanting to confer rights on citizens of the ACT. There is nothing odd about that at all, and I am surprised that the former president of the Council of Civil Liberties would have any problem with conferring rights. I also think it would be unusual and hard to understand why he would have a problem with conferring those rights sooner rather than later. That is what we propose to do, Mr Speaker. We propose to confer those rights sooner rather than later by passing that legislation in the course of this sitting week.

However, Mr Speaker, we do not have that opportunity because I am concerned about doing so in an atmosphere where there were allegations made by those opposite that this was somehow designed to prejudice, in some absolutely incomprehensible way, an inquiry which is currently going on in the Coroners Court. I was concerned that those sorts of allegations made on the floor of this place under privilege - - -

Mr Stanhope: Are you a party to those proceedings?

MR SPEAKER: Order, please!

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