Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 10 Hansard (Wednesday, 24 August 2005) . . Page.. 3184 ..
MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment and Minister for Arts, Heritage and Indigenous Affairs) (5.01): Mr Speaker, I have circulated to members an amendment to Mr Stefaniak’s motion. I move:
Omit all words after “That this Assembly”, substitute:
(a) comments on radio on 22 August 2005 by the Shadow Attorney-General that in the government becoming involved in the apprehended bias appeal against the Coroner ‘there were big concerns that that was going against the doctrine of separation of powers’;
(b) further comments by the Shadow Attorney-General in this place, for example on 8 December 2004 that ‘by joining in an appeal [against the Coroner]…..[the Government] contravenes the separation of powers’;
(c) the reported view of noted ANU academic, Hugh Selby (Canberra Times 30 October 2004) that ‘claims that a breach of the separation of powers is occurring are nothing more than a red herring’;
(d) a further reported view of a second expert in coroner inquiries, Dr Ian Freckleton (Canberra Times 1 February 2005) that the Government’s action was ‘valid and lawful’; and
(e) the fact that in the comments of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, relied on by the Shadow Attorney-General, nowhere does the Chief Justice suggest that the Government’s appeal against the Coroner was a breach of the separation of powers; and
(2) censures the Shadow Attorney-General for his blatant and repeated misleading of the people of Canberra and this Assembly.”.
Mr Stefaniak’s motion quite deliberately misconstrues what the Chief Justice actually said by connecting some remarks about the separation of powers with non-existing interference by me in the administration of justice. I have not interfered with the administration of justice; nor has the Chief Justice said I did; nor has the Chief Justice connected his remarks about the separation of powers on Friday of last with me. He made no connection; nor is there a connection; nor has any practising lawyer that I know said that I have interfered with the administration of justice or overstepped the bounds of the separation of powers. I note that Mr Stefaniak tabled documents today. I have not noticed him table any documents supporting the allegation that there are lawyers or legal practitioners that have said or believe any such thing.
In fact, the president of the law society has said quite the opposite. In an interview recorded for radio broadcast on last Saturday, the president of the law society said that he did not believe that the Chief Minister had offended against the separation of powers doctrine because it was apparent that the government had not attempted to influence the outcome of proceedings. It had merely used the court processes that are available to all persons and when the court ruled against it, the government accepted the decision. The