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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 10 Hansard (14 October) . . Page.. 3155 ..

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, I am concerned that those sorts of allegations made under privilege in this place could prejudice that inquiry, and therefore I have decided not to bring the Bill forward for debate. I will not bring it forward, Mr Speaker, until members opposite are prepared to allow this notion of some sort of sinister purpose to have passed because of its contemporaneity with the inquest into the Royal Canberra Hospital implosion. Now, that is most unfortunate, Mr Speaker. It means, for example, that the parties to that implosion, particularly the Bender family, are unable to take up the rights which are being conferred by this legislation. I can do that, Mr Speaker, as Attorney-General, but the Benders cannot, and that is most - - -

Mr Stanhope: You can do it for them.

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, can I please have - - -

MR SPEAKER: Would you please be quiet? You have asked your questions, some of you. Others hope to, I imagine.

MR HUMPHRIES: It is exceedingly strange that those opposite profess in some media, I have heard, to support the idea of conferring these rights on individuals but actually want to delay the conferring of those rights. Why? I have no idea, Mr Speaker, and I would be looking forward to their explanation as to why later on. What is also very strange is that we had calls from Mr Stanhope earlier this week to put off the debate on the Bill when in fact Mr Stanhope well knew, because his colleague Mr Berry received an email from my office to indicate that the Bill would not be coming forward in this fortnight anyway.

Mr Stanhope: When was that sent?

MR HUMPHRIES: That is the email that went to Mr Berry on Friday, 8 October, last Friday, at 12.40 in the afternoon, and I quote:

The Government agrees to not bring forward the Justice and Community Safety Legislation Amendment Bill during this sitting fortnight. You will note from the minutes that Mr Berry expressed the view that it would not be considered until after the Coroner's report on the Bender Inquest. The Government will further consider whether to excise these sections and bring the Bill back for debate in November but I am advised that there is no urgency to have the Bill dealt with in October.

So Mr Stanhope was calling for this thing to be delayed on Monday and on Friday his party was told there was not going to be debate on these Bills in this fortnight at all. It is exceedingly strange, don't you think, Mr Speaker?

Ms Carnell: Even odd.

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