Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 9 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 2694 ..
MR STANHOPE (Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Health, Minister for Community Affairs and Minister for Women): Mr Speaker, I seek leave to make a statement on this matter.
MR STANHOPE: I repeat some of the things I mentioned before. I was approached by a constituent. The constituent happened to be Mr Brown.
Mr Humphries: He was not a constituent. He lives in Yass. He is not your constituent at all.
MR STANHOPE: I was approached by a person who made representations to me about a matter before the courts. That man was Mr Brown. Mr Brown approached me in the street and appraised me the circumstances of this matter. He told me that judgment had been given by the court against the ACT government. Having regard to the circumstances of his wife at the time, he was most anxious that she be relieved of any undue stress. He was looking for the matter to be resolved as a matter of urgency.
Immediately upon getting back to my office, within an hour, I wrote to the decision-maker in the matter: the then Chief Minister. Having just been asked by Mr Brown on behalf of his wife to make representations as a matter of urgency, I did so. I asked for urgent advice in the circumstances of the case. I asked, "Would you advise me as a matter of urgency?" In other words, I asked, "Can I have your advice quickly, please?"
Mr Brown asked me, "What is the government going to do? Can you tell me? Can you help me? What is their response to this judgment going to be? My wife has gained judgment against the ACT government. Can you let me know or help me get an answer from the ACT government on what the ACT government proposes to do about the order of $230,000-plus in damages?"
I said, "Yes, I will make the representation." I made the representation. I asked that the matter be dealt with urgently because of the circumstances being faced by the family. I asked:
Could you please advise me, as a matter of urgency, what action-
the judgment had been given over two weeks before-
you have taken-
in the two weeks since the judgment was handed down-
to arrange payment or part-payment of the monies awarded to Mrs Brown.
That is the genesis of the matter. That was the basis of my request for advice. This was a request for advice. You were the Chief Minister and Attorney-General. You were the decision-maker. Judgment had been entered against the ACT government in the circumstances of a person in a critical stage. I asked, "Could you please advise me, as a matter of urgency, on the basis that I have just this day been approached by the