Page 132 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 8 December 2004
admit that that will be difficult where some of the issues reported to him could well relate to adverse findings against some arm of government, for instance, or perhaps against some government employees — who knows? The point of it is that there must be a well-founded and grounded perception in the community that the Attorney is acting in such a manner; that he is acting at complete arm’s length; that he is acting in a totally disinterested way.
I hardly think that is occurring here. Finally, in relation to coronial inquests, Professor Carney, on the role of the Attorney, states—
MR SPEAKER: You will not say that again. You express opinion again in relation to this matter. When you say, “I hardly say that has happened in this case”, I think you are referring to the actions of the attorney in respect of the matter. I warn you that I will not tolerate too much more of this.
MR STEFANIAK: All right, Mr Speaker. If I can continue, I will quote Professor Carney on the role of the Attorney. He states:
There is no precedent of which I am aware where the Attorney-General has been regarded as under a legal duty to intervene in the conduct of a commission of inquiry in circumstances where the commission may be exceeding its terms of reference. Any intervention, certainly of a covert nature, would be viewed as a threat to the independence and integrity of the commission.
He goes on to say:
In any event, the appropriate parties to challenge any alleged excess of power by a commission of inquiry are those who are directly affected by the inquiry.
In this instance, those are the nine other people who did the appeal.
Mr Stanhope: And the territory.
MR STEFANIAK: Not the territory, Chief Minister.
Mr Stanhope: Yes, the territory.
MR SPEAKER: Order! Mr Stefaniak has the floor.
MR STEFANIAK: I seek an extension of time.
(Extension of time not granted).
Suspension of standing and temporary orders
MR STEFANIAK: I move:
That so much of the standing and temporary orders be suspended as would prevent Mr Stefaniak having an extension of time.