Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 1 Hansard (10 February) . . Page.. 46..
MS GALLAGHER (continuing):
extremely serious issue and I do not know how you can listen to me and Mrs Dunne at the same time. But if you are not interested in what I did to ensure that the children in the care of the territory were safe-
Mr Pratt: Answer the question Minister.
MS GALLAGHER: I was answering the question before you stopped listening and started chatting. On receipt of that report I rang the community advocate and enquired as to what needed to be done for the six children that she could not say were safe and what she needed to be done today for those six children. She replied that she was not of the view that those children were at any immediate risk, that she would review their files on Monday, and that her concerns related to the fact that she was not able to look at the information about those children rather than the fact that they were in any immediate danger.
MR PRATT: I ask a supplementary question. Why did the minister not accept the interim report of the commissioner's committee-a committee that has access to relevant records and that is advised by a couple of independent experts-that the safety of the children that the minister has failed cannot be assured?
MS GALLAGHER: Mr Pratt just does not get it. Today we are not discussing the safety and wellbeing of these children; we are discussing incidents or cases of abuse that are alleged to have occurred over a number of years. I made phone calls and I sought advice from the department. I asked the department to tell me whether children in the care of the territory are safe today. I received advice from the department. I rang the Community Advocate and asked her to assure me that children in the care of the territory are safe today. Yesterday morning Mrs Burke, in a radio interview, said, "We also have vulnerable children who are still being inflicted with abuse in various parts of care."What does she know that I do not know?
Mrs Burke: Are they lying?
MS GALLAGHER: What has the member done about it?
Mrs Burke: They are trying to report it to your department and your department is not listening.
MS GALLAGHER: The member is aware of cases of abuse in care and she is doing nothing about it other than crying on the Mike Jeffreys show. It is a disgrace.
Mr Stanhope: I ask that further questions be placed on the notice paper.
Public Sector Management Act-executive contracts
Papers and statement by minister
MR STANHOPE (Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Environment and Minister for Community Affairs): For the information of members, I present the following papers: