Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 10 Hansard (Thursday, 25 August 2005) . . Page.. 3256 ..
we are talking about here, though, is a fundamental principle in relation to the separation of powers.
He cited in support of that argument another expert in coronial law, Dr Ian Freckleton, La Trobe University. But he made the same mistake—the grievous error, as he did—in misconstruing the words of the Chief Justice. He, of course, verballed Dr Freckleton. Yes, Dr Freckleton did enter the public debate in expressing his view that the government’s intervention was unusual. And of course Mr Stefaniak went on to quote with great glee that particular part of Dr Freckleton, but he did not then go on to provide the context. The next sentence of Dr Freckleton’s, and the write up, was that, yes, the action was unusual but it was neither invalid nor unlawful—perhaps unusual, but neither invalid nor unlawful. But let us not worry about the detail. Let us not worry about the truth or the context—
Opposition members interjecting—
MR SPEAKER: Order! Members of the opposition will maintain order.
MR STANHOPE: Of course, we say it is the trap Mr Stefaniak falls into, and the trap he fell into yesterday. It was not a trap at all—
MR SPEAKER: Please do not reflect on yesterday’s debate.
MR STANHOPE: Cheers. But it is a trap that he fell into on Monday of this week when he put out another media release reflecting on Justice Higgins’s comments of last Friday. He said, and it is worth repeating to emphasise what it is that he has done on this issue:
These comments from the ACT’s most senior judge confirm what community groups and the ACT Opposition have been saying since the Government involved itself in the appeal ...
It’s time now for the Attorney-General to acknowledge that he has compromised the separation of powers between the executive and the judiciary, through his action in joining the ACT Government.
As we all know, and as Mr Selby reaffirmed yesterday, in his “bloody nonsense” comment, the comments of an expert, that those comments by Mr Stefaniak were wrong, and he knows they were wrong. His position, the position he leads for the Liberal Party, is wrong, and it has been ever since he attached himself to it. The contrast between that position and reality is stark. It is time for Mr Stefaniak to acknowledge his mistake and to apologise. Mr Stefaniak has been rightly censured in this place for blatantly and repeatedly misleading the public, and the Assembly, and it is time he apologised for what he has done.
Mr Speaker, I ask that all further questions be placed on the notice paper.
Supplementary answer to question without notice
MR STANHOPE: I received a question today from the Leader of the Opposition in which he claimed that Mr Hargreaves had in question time made a certain claim in