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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 1 Hansard (12 February) . . Page.. 298..


MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

It is an important and an interesting question in the context of the three reports from the Office of the Community Advocate. The first of those covered that year when the current shadow Attorney was the Attorney and when the report was received by him.

The annual report of the Community Advocate for 2000-01 makes no mention of Family Services failing to meet its obligations under section 162 (2) of the Children and Young People Act 1999. The Community Advocate only referred to this issue in the 2001-02 annual report and the 2002-03 annual report-when Mr Stanhope was Attorney. Will he now correct the record?

MR STANHOPE: I was not aware that the report that covered the period while Mr Stefaniak was Attorney and minister for education and family services, the period during which these breaches of section 162 commenced, did not mention that. I will go back and read that. If I made an error in the way I characterised the three latest reports of the Community Advocate, I am more than happy to correct the record. Of course, I will not withdraw the suggestion that there is a question to be answered around the fact that during that period Mr Stefaniak was minister for family services with responsibility for those issues. He was also the Attorney-General. That first report of the Community Advocate that I referred to was addressed to him as Attorney-General. Also, I will not resile from the point I made in relation to the second of those reports-the 2001-02 report-which, whilst addressed to the Assembly through me, was immediately referred to Mr Stefaniak for examination. We need to acknowledge that the annual reports are reports by government of activities of departments and agencies.

Mr Stefaniak: On a point of order: under standing order 118 (a), the Chief Minister should confine his answer to the subject matter of the question. I think he is probably breaching 118 (b) as well in starting to debate the subject, which is inappropriate.

MR SPEAKER: The Chief Minister will come to the subject matter.

MR STANHOPE: I will. I will conclude with this point. The Community Advocate's reports for last year and the year before were handed to Mr Smyth, Mr Stefaniak, Mrs Dunne, Mr Pratt, Mrs Burke and Mr Cornwell on the same day that they were handed to me. Annual reports are provided to all 17 members of this Assembly on the same day.

Mr Stefafaniak: Mr Speaker-

MR SPEAKER: I think the minister is entitled to refer to historical events around an important issue to put things in context.

MR STANHOPE: Those reports were handed to every member of this Assembly on the day that they were handed to me. On the day they were tabled in this Assembly for the information of all members as a record of the government's activities they were referred to a select committee. The report of the Community Advocate was referred to a select committee chaired by Mr Stefaniak. It was referred to him under terms of reference that required him to examine, investigate and report to the Assembly on the contents of that report. Mr Stefaniak, as chair of that committee, charged by this Assembly to investigate the contents of that report, chose not to call the Community Advocate. The Community


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