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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 7 Hansard (6 June) . . Page.. 2055 ..

MR SMYTH (5.01): Mr Speaker, I would like to address some of the comments made by the Chief Minister.

MR SPEAKER: Without being tedious or repetitious, I hope!

MR SMYTH: I will not be tedious or repetitious, Mr Speaker, but it will be the truth.

My understanding is that the Chief Minister used to be the president of the Civil Liberties Council. As Attorney-General, he is here to protect the rights of all citizens. Yet, from comments that appeared in the Canberra Times on 7 March, Mr Stanhope had clearly already prejudged all that was about to happen. It says:

Chief Minister Jon Stanhope called on Mr Humphries to also stand aside pending the result of the investigation.

This is the quote attributed to the Chief Minister:

We have a situation here where it was revealed today that a number of Liberal Party staff members apparently knew about what was going on.

Blanket condemnation! He goes on:

There is even the suggestion that the matter was raised at a Liberal Party staff meeting some weeks ago and that indeed every single member of the Liberal Party staff knew about these concerns.

Total condemnation! How is that natural justice? How can any citizen of the ACT have respect for the Attorney-General-a man with a law degree-when he goes out and makes statements like that in public, totally condemning people, without any evidence?

Mr Stanhope said earlier that it is a serious matter. "It was a serious matter, so we referred it to the police and the DPP." But what we do not have with the police and the DPP-and thank God for it-is the Labor Party view. Mr Stanhope went on to say, "I have no idea what transpired".

Then why were you making comments? Why were you using this place? Why were you abusing the privilege of this place to make comments about things you did not know? Why? Cheap, tacky, political gain. Your first witch-hunt has failed, Chief Minister. It failed because there was no substance to it. Thank God we have a DPP and a police service that is independent. They conducted thorough research and came to the right conclusion-that there were no charges to be laid.

You were out there, and, by your own admission, you had no idea of what had transpired. Does that mean, Chief Minister, that your comments to the Canberra Times, and the comments you made in this place, were things you made up?

Mr Stanhope: No, no!

MR SMYTH: What is true? On one hand, you did not know what transpired and, on the other hand, you are making comments. Don't you see that your credibility here just goes out the door? Your credibility goes out the door!

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