Page 1107 - Week 03 - Thursday, 26 February 2009

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Greens think that this is an important issue. It is clear from what has been said in the debate today that the majority of members in this place think that the Attorney-General acted in an unlawful way, that he broke the law, and that it should be dealt with in an appropriate way. This is a serious matter, and this serious matter prompted us to separate the validation legislation and have that moved separately.

It was indicated to me the other day that members did not want to go down this path, so I only flagged this as our preferred option but that we would not go down that path. But after I was invited by the minister—or cajoled or goaded—into taking this course of action, I think it is the only honourable thing to do. Therefore, we need to suspend standing orders to do so. It is really a test of just how good and how courageous the attorney is.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Water, Minister for Energy and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (3.37): Once again Mrs Dunne misrepresents and just blatantly makes false accusations about what I did say or did not say in this chamber. I made the point in the debate that if Mrs Dunne had the courage of her convictions she would have, from the outset, tabled a bill to deal with this matter. That is the point I made.

I did not invite her to table the bill. I certainly did not say I would give her leave to table the bill, and I will invite Mrs Dunne to correct the record in that regard because she has misled the Assembly by saying so—

Mrs Dunne: Madam Assistant Speaker, I raise a point of order. That is—

MR CORBELL: Madam Assistant Speaker, I withdraw that. I believe that she may have misled the Assembly by saying so. She should correct the record, and I invite her to do so. If Mrs Dunne had been serious about this, she would have proposed this from the outset. This is just more obstructionism, more delaying, more frustration and opposition for the sake of opposition from Mrs Dunne.

We are in the detail stage of this debate. If Mrs Dunne seriously believed that this bill, which she has clearly had prepared, was worthy of debate, she should have put it on the notice paper on Tuesday. That bill then could potentially have been debated cognately with this bill today. But she chose not to do so. The moment has passed, Madam Assistant Speaker. She cannot have it both ways. Either she had the courage of her convictions at the time or she did not. She did not and she cannot now come and re-prosecute that matter.

We are at a very late stage in the debate. We are two or three questions away from completing this debate, and it is just absolutely absurd for Mrs Dunne to suggest that at this very late stage she wants to introduce her bill. If she had believed in this bill she would have put it up in the first place, regardless of what other members in this place said. But she has not done so and the moment has clearly passed.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (3.40), in reply: If no one else is going to speak, I will close, Madam Assistant Speaker. I take the minister’s comments under advisement.

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