Page 192 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 8 December 2004

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represented. Nine individuals, nine good Canberrans, including volunteer firefighters—people who risked their lives for us—

MR SPEAKER: You should not go to the merits of individuals, Mr Stanhope.

MR STANHOPE: Nine people wishing to protect their interests are seeking to have a full bench of the Supreme Court make a judgment on a matter which each of them as individuals believes is important to their reputations and their futures. Who would deny them that, other than the Liberal Party of the Australian Capital Territory?

It is interesting that at the moment we have a similar issue running in parallel, namely a matter being pursued by David Eastman, using exactly the same principle. A convicted murderer, a person who murdered our assistant police commissioner, is pursuing a matter through our courts in relation to his interests. I will defend David Eastman, convicted murderer, to the death in his right to do that. I will defend the rights of a convicted murderer to use the law to protect his or her interests. If I will protect and defend the rights of a convicted murderer to the death as part of my responsibility in relation to the administration of justice, I will defend to the death the rights of nine fine Canberrans, who risked their lives for us, to defend their rights and to utilise the law as they believe appropriate in their interests.

As the Attorney-General of the Australian Capital Territory, I will do my duty in relation to the administration of justice and the need to protect the integrity of the administration of justice and our courts through the testing of serious matters in relation to the administration of justice in our Supreme Court. I will accept that process and continue to utilise it; but any bunkum to the effect that I have delayed anything, or that the government has delayed anything, should be rejected. This matter will proceed whether or not the territory is there.

MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra) (4.42): I think the Attorney-General again misses the point. I am glad he mentioned the matter of Eastman, because I think that is an important matter—just to show the distinction between what he has done here and what is appropriate behaviour for an Attorney-General.

Mr Stanhope: What about the Smyth defamation case? Is that appropriate? Tell us about the actions of Gary Humphries in relation to the Smyth defamation case.

MR STEFANIAK: He mentions the Gary Humphries matter, and we have quoted from that at length today. The Attorney-General has gone against exactly what he said there. I have no problems with what he has said there in relation to the role of the Attorney-General; the opposition does not have any problems with that, but he has gone completely against that in what he has done in this matter. This is an appeal, as you say, attorney, to the Supreme Court by nine individuals. We have no qualms about that.

Mr Stanhope: Then what is all this nonsense about extra cost and delay?

MR SPEAKER: Order, order! Chief Minister, please.

MR STEFANIAK: I heard you in silence. The second point is in relation to that. I also have read the submissions. I have read the other submissions too against why this appeal

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