Page 4732 - Week 15 - Tuesday, 13 December 2005

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MR SPEAKER: Mr Hargreaves is dealing with his fear.

MR HARGREAVES: I am. Mr Speaker, you know how I quake in my boots at the very mention of those words “John Howard”. The IR laws are about taking away protections for our working people, whether those protections apply to full-time workers or whether they apply to volunteers.

The guidelines that we have introduced in that notifiable instrument provide protections and guidance to those people who are volunteers about ways in which they can give expression to their concerns. Hitherto, the only way they could give expression to their concerns was either to speak to me privately—because, unlike those opposite I have gone around and spoken to every one of them—

Mr Smyth: Every one of them?

MR HARGREAVES: Mr Speaker, you should deal with this man. The other way in which they found expression was to leak things. There is no need for people to leak things if there is a properly protected structure around which people can form their complaints and have them heard. That is what we have provided to people.

We have gagged nobody. Only a person with the mind of a grasshopper could suggest that the public interest disclosure legislation is gagging people. Only a person with the mind of a grasshopper could suggest that allowing people to appeal to the Ombudsman or directly to the commissioner, which is a right they did not have before, is gagging people. I do not think I need to deal with this insect anymore.

Human rights

MR STEFANIAK: My question is to the Attorney-General. Attorney, the cancellation of the invitation to you to give a lecture on a national human rights bill to the Catholic community in Melbourne was based on the realisation of the Archbishop of Melbourne, Denis Hart, that your understanding of human rights is held to be very partial and selective and would cause strong feeling against your presence. The Vicar-General of the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Monsignor Les Tomlinson, said on ABC radio on 8 December:

I think the Archbishop became aware that there was a strong feeling against Mr Stanhope and reasoned that that could be turned into an embarrassing and unpleasant scene.

Can the attorney explain how creating bad feeling in the Catholic community in Victoria by pushing his personal barrow of libertarian views is calculated to promote the ACT interstate?

MR STANHOPE: I welcome the question. It was a matter of some honour to me that the Melbourne Commission for Justice, Development and Peace invited me to present what I regarded as a most significant lecture. I was invited by the Catholic commission—I did take it as a significant honour and I was most honoured to receive the invitation—to deliver a lecture on human rights. I am aware of much of the very significant work that

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