Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 01 Hansard (Wednesday, 8 December 2004) . . Page.. 190 ..
of the chamber have done things in that regard, but the actions we are seeing in respect of the delay of this inquiry and the decision by the Attorney-General and the ACT government will not assist those people and will not assist the Canberra community.
There have been a number of references today to the House of Representatives guide, Odgers’ Australian Senate Practice and others, but I think we should reflect on what Chief Justice Sir Anthony Mason said when he remarked that it is a responsibility of the first law officer, a responsibility of the first importance, to uphold the rule of law. He said that it is a responsibility that should not be subordinated to party political considerations when the integrity of judicial institutions is under challenge.
MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Environment and Minister for Arts, Heritage and Indigenous Affairs) (4.31): This is a nonsense motion. It is a motion that has been moved for the short-term political purposes of the Liberal Party, a very seriously and severely discredited party within the ACT community at the moment.
It is interesting, I think, for us to reflect that, in the first sitting week of a new parliament following a major defeat by the Liberal Party at the election, with this new opportunity and with new challenges and new horizons facing them, the first serious debate they initiate is one which goes back to an issue that has been debated ad nauseam in this place—an issue which is being dealt with by the courts of the Australian Capital Territory. They are in fact backward-looking, a party that has made absolutely no effort or attempt to analyse why they were so sorely treated by the people of Canberra in the election on 16 October.
That is something that I think is worth reflecting on. It surprises me. The Liberal Party, coming into a new four-year term as a seriously diminished party, has the only Leader of the Opposition in 15 years of self-government who was regarded by and treated as so inadequate by the people of Canberra that they handed majority government to his opponent.
Mr Smyth: Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order: relevance.
MR SPEAKER: Come back to the point of the motion.
MR STANHOPE: I will, Mr Speaker. This is the first Leader of the Opposition not to be able to resist passing majority government to his opponent.
Mr Smyth: Mr Speaker, on a point of order: the Chief Minister, as always, continues to ignore your direction; he should be brought to heel.
MR SPEAKER: Yes. Come back to the point of the motion.
MR STANHOPE: I will; but it is worth pondering those issues; and we will indeed. In relation to the decision I took on behalf of the government, which is the subject of the motion today, the coronial process has been active for a significant time, and it has some little time to run. It had reached a stage when all the individuals represented before it—namely nine highly respected members of the Canberra community—had reached a position in relation to certain aspects of conduct and certain incidents that occurred.