Page 199 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 8 December 2004

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .

The trouble is that our Attorney-General is, through the very nature of this appeal, mounting an attack on the judicial system. It is an attack he does not need to mount. It is an action he himself indicates he did not have to take because other people were. And that is a very real problem.

I refer again to Professor Carney, who has stated:

There is no precedent of which I am aware where an 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.

The rules of sub judice in a commission of inquiry are not dissimilar to those in a coronial inquest; there are some similarities. Professor Carney went 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.

I would hope that all of us in this Assembly accept that that means the nine individuals who have made this appeal. That is directly relevant to what this Attorney-General has done wrong. Justice Angel of the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory said on 6 February:

There is, in each jurisdiction of Australia, a need of an Executive that respects the rule of law and of an Attorney-General who holds himself or herself responsible for upholding the rule of law and thus the integrity of the legal system, and who respects the institution of the judiciary and the enduring principles of legal justice which the judicial system administers.

This Attorney-General, by his actions, which he now refuses to countenance changing, is not upholding the rule of law, despite what he thinks. Despite what he might think, he is not upholding the integrity of the legal system and by the very nature of his appeal he is not respecting the institution of the judiciary and the enduring principles of legal justice that the judicial system administers.

As I said earlier, a vote of no confidence in this minister would not mean that the government would be under any threat or that the Chief Minister would not remain Chief Minister. But it would mean that he would no longer be Attorney-General. That would be the result of the unprecedented and quite amazing actions that he has taken and refused to undo. For the reasons that I have given, we in the opposition submit that he has forfeited the right to be Attorney-General in this place.

MR QUINLAN (Molonglo—Treasurer and Minister for Economic Development) (5.11): Quite clearly, Mr Stefaniak lost his motion, but I do want to talk about it. A lot was said in the debate about the effect of the delay—all on the at least implied presumption that it was all down to the Attorney-General—about closure and about the cost to the community. Although I know that members do not want to, they need to understand and accept that that argument simply collapses, because individuals had already initiated action to set in motion this process before it was referred to the

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .