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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 10 Hansard (30 August) . . Page.. 3746 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

The fact that there are people who are dissatisfied with outcomes does not of itself suggest that there is corruption in our system. None of us should be heard to suggest otherwise, without there being solid evidence of a kind which has not yet been produced.

The Commission for Integrity in Government Bill-as was its predecessor, the Commission Against Corruption Bill-was a stunt. I am pleased that the recommendation from the standing committee is that the bill not be proceeded with. It was unworthy of this Assembly, and I am glad that it is not to be proceeded with.

MR STANHOPE (Leader of the Opposition) (11.57): I was going to speak to this matter, but I am a little bit concerned about the reasons the Chief Minister outlined in saying that this matter should not have been inquired into.

I may be corrected if I am wrong, but I do not believe it was the task or within the terms of reference of the committee to investigate the presence or otherwise of corruption within the ACT. It is quite unfair of the Chief Minister to berate the committee and to berate the Assembly for having this matter inquired into by the justice committee, on the basis that they did not find any evidence of corruption.

On my understanding, they did not look for evidence of corruption. This was not an inquiry into corruption. It was an inquiry into a piece of draft legislation proposed by a member of this place. I would have thought it was quite legitimate for any member to propose any legislation he liked and for the committee to inquire into it without doing a full-scale investigation into whether or not there is corruption in the ACT. It is a completely different question. It is not for the justice committee of this Assembly to undertake an investigation into the existence or otherwise of corruption within the ACT government or within the ACT. It is not appropriate.

I make the point for the record that I think the comments the Chief Minister made were misdirected and, quite seriously, irrelevant.

Mr Humphries: You misunderstood what I was saying. I was not attacking the committee at all.

MR STANHOPE: I think it is important. In relation to this report, you said, "The committee has not found any evidence of corruption. Thank goodness we have not proceeded with this legislation." The committee did not look for evidence of corruption. It is dangerous to suggest, "The committee did not find any corruption. Therefore there is no corruption. Therefore we do not need the bill."

Mr Humphries: They were looking for it.

MR STANHOPE: You have got the order back to front. The committee did not go looking for corruption. It was not the basis of the inquiry. It may very well be the case that there is none, but it is dangerous for you as Chief Minister to suggest, "We have had an inquiry into corruption. There is not any corruption. We do not need legislation." It is an extremely dangerous position.

Question resolved in the affirmative

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