Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 13 Hansard (Wednesday, 16 November 2005) . . Page.. 4191 ..
of the opposition’s claim that people are coming to them in droves. They are not. Yes, some people have not recovered. But this motion is not about the principle of sub judice. It is about trying to keep the same old topic alive to milk the misery of the few that have not yet recovered, to try and get something out of it after this time, to keep it going—
Mr Seselja: This is about as weak as I have ever seen him.
MR SPEAKER: I warn you, Mr Seselja.
MR QUINLAN: because you are so lame that you cannot make positive contributions to the administration and the good government of this territory.
People come to me in droves, Mr Speaker, and tell me, “This is a negative, nasty opposition. What is wrong with them? Even when the government does something good, it is not big enough, not high enough, not soon enough, not wide enough. When are these turkeys going to make some positive contribution?” That is what people are saying to me.
MR HARGREAVES (Brindabella—Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Minister for Urban Services and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (11.12): I will not take very much time, but I want to place on the record a couple of points that been missed. Paragraph (2) of the motion states:
Debate shall be allowed in the Assembly on any matter before the courts unless it can be demonstrated by a member of the Assembly that such debate will lead to a clear and substantial danger of prejudice in the courts’ proceedings.
I make my comments in isolation from Dr Foskey’s amendment. Rather, they go to why on earth that requirement would be put into the motion. To whom would a member of the Assembly demonstrate? It would be the Assembly. Therefore, if the government has a majority and it is the opposition that is seeking to demonstrate, well, bad luck! It is just a numerical thing. That is giving an overt amount of power that is not necessary. It already exists within this place. It is a totally unnecessary practice to adopt.
Secondly, to underscore what Mr Quinlan has just said, I would like the record to contrast the approach taken by this opposition to the bushfire coronial inquest with the response of the Stanhope Labor opposition to the hospital implosion coronial inquest. An examination of the record reveals that the then opposition recognised the sub judice rule and refrained from going on witch-hunts and delving deep into the evidence and bringing it into this place. That is what this opposition should have done. It should have left the coronial inquest well alone until it was concluded. Then they could do what they like with it.
Thirdly, and I think this is probably the most important point of all, evidence produced in this place as part of a debate runs the risk of being inadmissible in court because of the privilege that attaches to this place. There is a very real risk that salient evidence innocently introduced into this place in debate or by the tabling of material would be ruled inadmissible. A really clever little lawyer could to it with mischievous intent so as to deliberately derail some court proceedings. This is, in my view, the real reason for the sub judice rule.