Page 3448 - Week 09 - Thursday, 21 August 2008

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It is absolutely remarkable that we have the Leader of the Opposition standing today and urging on me and fellow shareholders a course of action which the Government Solicitor, as the most senior lawyer in the ACT government, has already ruled as wrong—not that it was maybe wrong or that it could be wrong, but that the view and opinion of the public accounts committee is wrong.

Mr Smyth: Will you table the advice?

MR SPEAKER: Order, Mr Smyth! Cease interjecting.

MR STANHOPE: It is wrong. That is the opinion of the ACT Government Solicitor, Peter Garrisson. If you would like a more fulsome or expansive opinion on the degree to which it is wrong and the areas in relation to which it is wrong, I do intend to commission such an opinion, to put to bed once and for all this arrant nonsense that has been dished up to the Assembly and the people of Canberra today.

This set of recommendations, findings or conclusions in a committee report was made on legal issues without reference to a lawyer, without reference to a legal opinion and without a request for advice from a lawyer. It is just wrong; it was just made up. Brendan Smyth QC and Deb Foskey QC: “Oh, let’s just devise a bit of law here. Let’s write a bit of law. Let’s construe it and construct a bit of law. Look, it is only eight weeks till the election, after all. We’ve got a great opportunity here. We’ve been working on this report for two years, but let’s just save it up. We’ll just make it up. We’ll become lawyers for the day.”

Mr Seselja: So Karin just made it up?

MR SPEAKER: Cease interjecting, Mr Seselja.

MR STANHOPE: “We’ll dredge from our understanding of that legal show”—what is the name of that legal show that Mr Seselja indicated?

Ms MacDonald: Boston Legal.

MR STANHOPE: Boston Legal. “We’ll just conjure up all of the advice and inspiration that we’ve achieved from Boston Legal.” It’s easy to do: you see it on Boston Legal. You just write a bit of an opinion. It doesn’t have to have any relevance to the law. It doesn’t have to be right. It doesn’t have to be true; it’s all right if it’s wrong. But as long as we can score a political point or two off the Chief Minister or off the Labor Party, that’ll do, with eight weeks to an election. Let’s just make up the law. Let’s just cast aspersions. Let’s use the public accounts committee, let’s use the committee office, for this rank political purpose.”

With respect to this report, this committee stands condemned today. This is an indictment; it is a disgraceful thing you have done to the committee office and system today through this report. It has taken three hours for an opinion from a most senior solicitor to say this is rubbish. (Time expired.)

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