Parliamentary record : Part I debates (16 August 1990)
Debates for 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990
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Northern Territory Legislative Assembly
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Thursday 16 August 1990 to go to a government lawyer, starting with the Secretary of the Department of Law, and confide in them or, . if not to confide the information to them, then to provide the i nformat ion whi ch wi 11 be transmitted to Mr Mu 1 ho Hand unedited. The inference in the urgency mot i on today is that those avenues are not open. What about the Sol icitor-General? Cannot Mr Tom Paul ing QC be trusted? He is independent of government. He is a ,statutory officer. In fact, he can decide to bring actions against all sorts of people, if he believes that it is in thei nterestof the Territory. Can I t he be trusted with a confidence? We are talking about people who handle all levels of crime: organised criminal activity, ~rostitution, drugs, rackets, whatever is going on in the commun i ty. They are i nvo 1 ved in interstate cooperat i on among po 1 ice fortes; for example, in respect of information on the international drug trade~ It is marvellous what information. is available to trusted senior officers of the government who are protecting the public interest. Neverthe 1 ess, we! are told that there is someone out there who knows someone else, who knows someone who has some information that is very important, perhaps vital, but that they are not prepared to trust to any officer. What about trusting a politician? Now I can understand people not trusting pol iticians, but I have difficulty with them not trusting Solicitors,.General ,police commissioners and the secretaries of government departments - a 11 men wi th unb 1 emi shed records. Mr Collins: The Ombudsman. Mr PERRON: The Ombudsman' of course. I omi tted that offi ce by mistake. He is a-man who has a specific charter from this Assembly to work independently with the Commissioner of Police and his teams in looking into any complaint against the police of any level of seriousness. He isa man who is also independent of government. He can write an~thing in his reports and they must be tabled in this Assembly, critical as they may be of anybody in any way. The d nference in th is mot i on of urgency today is that these people do not have any of these opportunities. Let us not be unreasonab 1 e about it. Let us do what is reasonab 1 e to enable society to bring to the surface wrongdoing and corruption at any level in our society, but let us be reasonable. Let us not be absurd about it. I am fl abbergasted that honourab 1 e members oppos ite have not i nv ited these peop 1 e to pass thei r i nformat i on to them so that they can see the Secretary of the Department of Law and see if he can convi nce them that he will transmit the information to Mr Mulholland. If he cannot convince members opposite, they can make a public fuss about it. However, to imply that these people are so untrustworthy that you could not whisper something to them in a corridor without it rebounding on you in some awful way Mr Leo: What a loadnf rubbish! Mr PERRON: It is absurd. It really is absurd. We should not be wasting the time of this House on absurdities. Mr Speaker, I do not have much more to say on this. I think I have demonstrated my point, and I hope honourable members see what I am putting to them as bei ng genui ne. I know some of them are aggri eved. In particular, the journalist concerned is terribly aggrieved that we did not establish a Fitzgerald-type inquiry which he originally wanted. It has never been that. We have never claimed that it was, and there is no reason whatsoever for such an inquiry in the Northern Territory. Honourable 9879
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