Page 3179 - Week 10 - Wednesday, 24 August 2005

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I commend this new library to residents of the Belconnen region, to make the most of this new and exciting multipurpose facility. I congratulate Ms Porter for bringing the matter to the attention of the Assembly and urge members to support Ms Porter’s motion.

MS PORTER (Ginninderra) (4.44), in reply: I thank all members for their contribution to the debate. As I said at the outset, this is an important addition to the services provided to the west Belconnen area, an area of Canberra in which this government has committed considerable funds to education, both at the level of public school education, as was outlined this morning, and sustaining community education, such as through this library.

My experience is that learning is not something that is restricted to the time we spend in formal schooling, as important as that is. Learning starts at birth and continues until we die. That is why this community facility is so important to all. It is accessible; it is well equipped; it is spacious; and it responds to community needs. As I mentioned before, the community has been fully engaged in this process. As I said, many open forums and stakeholder meetings were held involving the whole community. The result is now for all to see. I am sure Mr Stefaniak is going to hotfoot it down to the library, and I look forward to bumping into him there.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Attorney-General and shadow Attorney-General

Motions of condemnation and censure

MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra) (4.46): I move:

That this Assembly:

(1) notes the concern expressed by the:

(a) Chief Justice of the ACT Supreme Court regarding threats to the doctrine of separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary; and

(b) community, fire victims and legal practitioners at the Government’s unprecedented actions in initiating/joining the appeal against Coroner Doogan and the threat to the doctrine of separation of the executive and judicial powers as a result of such action;

(2) condemns the Attorney-General for his interference in the administration of justice in the ACT that has led to the Chief Justice expressing his concerns; and

(3) calls on the Attorney-General to stand aside as Attorney-General for the duration of the coronial inquest into the January 2003 bushfires.

On 20 October 2004, the government, through the Attorney-General, set in train some historic events in terms of legal precedent which the territory, indeed, the rest of Australia had never previously seen. It is not all that often that one actually hears a Chief Justice of a Supreme Court express concerns about the separation of powers. Indeed, the doctrine of the separation of powers does not come up as a real issue all that often.

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