Page 3367 - Week 11 - Tuesday, 20 September 2005

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which there were 13 houses for forestry purposes. We no longer have forestry purposes at Pierces Creek. We cannot rebuild houses for a fictitious purpose.

My advice—and the advice reiterated to me as late as last week—was that if, Housing ACT presents to ACTPLA a proposal to rebuild 12 houses at Pierces Creek, as the territory plan stands ACTPLA will be duty bound, legally required, to refuse the development application. That is my advice. My advice is that, if ACTPLA is presented by Housing ACT with a development application next week to rebuild 12 houses at Pierces Creek, ACTPLA will say no, as the law requires. That is my advice.

The commonwealth says it has other advice and another position. Of course, it has not released its legal advice. It says that our concerns are unfounded, but it is my advice. In that context, there are serious issues for the ACT government to consider in relation to this. We will give those issues due consideration. I have indicated that we will try again to negotiate with the commonwealth in relation to its legal position. I have given instructions that a submission be brought to cabinet urgently to deal with the new scenario.

Separation of powers

MR GENTLEMAN: My question is to the Attorney-General. I refer to a report in the Canberra Times last month that the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Higgins, had said that there appears to be an increasing tendency for the boundaries between the courts and the executive to become blurred. Can the attorney explain where the government stands on this issue?

MR STANHOPE: I was very pleased to receive a letter from the Chief Justice in which essentially—not explicitly, of course; far be it from me to suggest that the Chief Justice would cross the boundaries of the separation of powers—he confirmed the appropriateness of the censure motion which the shadow Attorney-General suffered as a result of his deliberate misleading of the Assembly and the people of Canberra in relation to the separation of powers. I was very pleased to receive the letter from the Chief Justice because it confirms that the action that the Assembly took in censuring Mr Stefaniak was most appropriate.

As we know, Mr Stefaniak, through that particular debate for which he was censured, quite deliberately misled this Assembly in relation to the separation of powers and quite deliberately misled the people of Canberra often and repeatedly in relation to these issues. He was appropriately censured, as he should have been. His behaviour in relation to this whole issue has been an absolute disgrace. He was censured then, rightly and appropriately. He has to carry with him the fact that he misled this place and the whole of Canberra knows he did, that he misled them and they know he did, and the people of Canberra—

Mr Stefaniak: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Misleading the Assembly is highly unparliamentary.

MR STANHOPE: No. That is what the motion said.

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