Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 12 Hansard (13 November) . . Page.. 3530 ..
MR HUMPHRIES Mr Speaker, it has been common practice in this place over many years to table documents in connection with the asking of questions-and generally, if I might say, it has been the practice in this place to allow that to occur, even when members have not seen the document which is being tabled. But, in this case, this is not a document that the opposition has sort of cooked up from some nefarious source. It is actually the government's own ad that appeared in the Canberra Times on 5 October.
What is the practice here? Again, the practice is changing. In the past, documents have been tabled customarily by members of the opposition during the asking of questions, and I don't recall that they were, in general-or, indeed, ever-refused leave.
Mr Corbell: I can.
MR HUMPHRIES: You can? Well, why don't you produce that case? Well, I believe, Mr Speaker, that generally they were allowed to be tabled.
Mr Corbell: Generally, yes. Not always.
MR HUMPHRIES: Generally, yes. Okay, we're tabling an ad. What possible objection can there be to tabling an advertisement placed by the Labor government in the Canberra Times? Don't you know what you published in the Canberra Times? Why are you embarrassed about seeing what you published in the Canberra Times?
Mr Stanhope: Well, there's a question of trust here, Mr Humphries. You could have shown it to us.
MR HUMPHRIES: Well, generally, to take Mr Corbell's point, we trusted you, and we're prepared to take your word for it when you table documents during question time. I do not see why it should be any different now.
MR STANHOPE (Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Health, Minister for Community Affairs and Minister for Women) (3.21): I do not want to labour the point, but there is a question of trust in relation to this. The last document that Mr Humphries sought leave to table was indeed highly defamatory of a member of this place, namely Mrs Cross. Since that particular incident, when we did not object to the tabling of a document in relation to the expulsion of Mrs Cross from the Liberal party room, I have to say that we on this side of the house later regretted that we had not stood up and at least sought some advice on what the content of that document was.
We saw the Leader of the Opposition tabling a highly defamatory document relating to Mrs Cross, in relation to her behaviour, in a circumstance where we had not seen it. So we simply now are just a little cautious. There is a certain issue of trust here, in the nature of documents that you seek to have tabled or incorporated.
If you had shown it to us and said you were going to seek leave, then we would not have hesitated, but we were burnt in relation to your absolutely outrageous behaviour in relation to Mrs Cross when you tabled what has to be regarded as nothing short of a highly defamatory and insulting document.