Thursday, April 20, 2017

Vale Eddie Azzopardi

         Mr HATTON (South Coast) [10.16]:  Anyone who makes platitudinous comments in this House, as the honourable member for Wakehurst did, and says that Mr Azzopardi has done better than most and reasonably well, has no understanding of the Azzopardi case.  He has no understanding of what the bill is all about.  He has no understanding of the role of Parliament or the justice system and the role of public servants and police in this State.  This is an historic bill because it is what Parliament is all about.  It is about protecting the rights of a citizen against the State when the State has used its wealth and powers - in particular its powers of suppression - to try to silence, harass and beat a citizen into the deck because that citizen stood up for what was right.  That is what Mr Azzopardi has done, and it has taken 20 years of his life.  It caused his wife to have a heart attack and caused severe damage to his family and his own health.  Yet the honourable member said that they got $50,000 or $70,000 between them.  That is a shocking thing for anyone to say, particularly a lawyer.
         Mr HATTON:  That is right, it was $70,000 between them.  Is it not a basic principle that justice delayed is justice denied?  Is it not a basic principle that the truth must out?  If the truth does not come out in the court system and the court system fails, the Parliament is the last bastion.  That is why I support the bill and why every backbench member should support it.  The bill says to the Parliament that it has an opportunity to do something because the system failed.  That is what the bill is really about.  The honourable member for Cronulla spoke about money - it might cost $10,000 a day.  It might cost $20,000 a day.  Big deal!  I have no doubt in my mind that Eddie Azzopardi has perhaps saved this State tens of millions of dollars - certainly many millions.  I shall give an example.  On 8th April 1992 I wrote a letter regarding the Charitable Collections Act and better procedures for the collection of revenue.  Mr Azzopardi has on file a letter dated 1st May, 1986, from the Department of Finance, signed by Mr A. D. Clyne, addressed to Mr Gerry Gleeson, Secretary of the Premier's Department. It quoted the Department of Motor Transport advice...
cost hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars.  Why did that coronial system fail twice?  Why did this man have to sacrifice his health and that of his family, not to mention money and opportunity of enjoyment of life, to fight the system three times in a row?  That is what this inquiry will determine.  The purpose of this bill is not to have another coronial inquiry, as has been improperly represented here.  The bill refers to the failure of any police officers to properly investigate the circumstances surrounding the fire and the complaints made by Mr Azzopardi.  It refers also to the findings of each of the coronial inquiries, and any unfair treatment or unreasonable disparagement of Edgar Azzopardi.
Eddie Azzopardi