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Member for Mount Gambier – Answer from Andrew

The Hon. A.L. McLACHLAN (15:04): Thank you, Mr President. I will address my response to the Hon. Gail Gago through you, Mr President. I thank the honourable member for her question. I can’t recall the exact date when I was informed but I understand that the information was in the public domain. Can I remind the honourable member that this matter is before the court and sub judice and, therefore, asking me for comments about this case is totally inappropriate—totally inappropriate. The Hon. Mr Malinauskas–

An honourable member interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: Order! Will you please sit down. Order! Allow the Hon. Mr McLachlan to answer the question.

The Hon. A.L. McLACHLAN: I’m doing the honourable member a courtesy to answer this question; I could refuse. But I think it’s a bit rich when the Labor Party raise this issue in this chamber when they had Bernie Finnigan. I sat in this chamber for 3½ years and, in the time Bernie Finnigan was in this chamber, they relied on his vote. They relied on his vote for every one of their successes—every one of their successes. Every vote, every piece of legislation they got through is tainted by a child pornographer—one of yours; one of the Hon. Mr Malinauskas’s own factional members. A factional leader and former minister. The Hon. Bernie Finnigan, when he was ‘the honourable’ is a taint on this chamber, so it’s a bit rich to ask me, a legal practitioner—but what I will say in response—

Members interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: Order!

Members interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: Order! Will the Hon. Mr McLachlan please take his chair. A very serious question has been asked of the Hon. Mr McLachlan so I think he should have the right to answer the question without interjection.

The Hon. J.S.L. Dawkins: Yes, that’s right.

The PRESIDENT: That also applies to the Hon. Mr Dawkins. The Hon. Mr McLachlan, please get up.

The Hon. A.L. McLACHLAN: Mr President—

Members interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: Order! I do think it—

The Hon. T.J. Stephens interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: The Hon. Mr Stephens, your comments are not helping at all. It is getting to the stage where I think this whole question time is turning into a bit of a farce. The Hon. Mr McLachlan, you should be able to finish your answer without any interjection.

The Hon. A.L. McLACHLAN: Other members might listen to me carefully because this is how you answer a question properly. I will say this: every member of society is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

An honourable member: A revelation!

The Hon. A.L. McLACHLAN: It’s not a revelation to the Labor Party with the legislation that it brings through, taking away people’s rights, and the rubbish we have had to see come through here. We must always give Mr Bell the opportunity to be heard in a court of law, and I will not make any further comment in relation to the same.

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