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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 1 Hansard (12 February) . . Page.. 299..


MR STANHOPE (continuing):

Advocate was not called or examined. The report Mr Stefaniak tabled did not contain any reference to the activities of the Community Advocate.

MR STEFANIAK: I have a supplementary question. Why did the Attorney-General make this incorrect statement about the 2000-01 annual report by the Community Advocate, given that he has acknowledged that he had not read the Community Advocate's annual reports?

MR STANHOPE: I indicated earlier that if I have inadvertently referred to the content of that 2000-01 report, I am more than happy to correct the record. I will have to go away and look at that. However, I have made the point-particularly as every member of this Assembly had that report, and in the questioning in the past few days we have been given to believe that every member of the opposition reads every report-that one wonders why Mr Stefaniak did not seek to examine the Community Advocate in relation to her report of 2001-02, if these matters are of such moment to him. One wonders what Mr Smyth made of the 2001-02 and the 2002-03 reports of the Community Advocate. Mr Smyth is keen on talking the talk, but did Mr Smyth walk the walk in relation to the Community Advocate's report, and if not why not? Why did he not raise these matters when he read those reports?

Child protection

MR CORNWELL: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, yesterday when asked by Mr Smyth when you became aware of the Community Advocate's concerns, as expressed in two successive annual reports, you stated eventually after several minutes of waffle:

The significance of that reference certainly was not grasped by anybody in my office or by me. I was not aware of it, I had not read it and it was not drawn to my attention. That is why I had not responded to it specifically. I regret that. It is a matter of enormous regret to me that I did not know of that particular reference in the report.

In this response you acknowledged that the head of Justice and Community Safety had not alerted you to this issue. Why therefore have you appointed that person to the role, even in an acting capacity, in the Department of Education, Youth and Family Services, having stood down the chief executive of that department?

MR STANHOPE: I think, paraphrased, Mr Cornwell's question is why haven't I sacked Tim Keady. I think it is a quite remarkable question. Who else do you want us to sack, Mr Cornwell?

The Community Advocate's report is a report required by an act of this Assembly to be provided to this Assembly as a record of the activities of that particular agency. That is what annual reports are. Let us go back and understand what annual reports are for. Annual reports are a basic accountability measure. They are a report of governmental and agency activities and they are provided to the Assembly by government agencies, government departments and government instrumentalities. They are passed to the Assembly through the minister. They are tabled by the Manager of Government Business. We all have access to them on the day they are tabled.


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