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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 2 Hansard (2 March) . . Page.. 465..


MRS CROSS (continuing):

more than others. The rights of the minor seem to prevail over the major. I think that is heading our society in the wrong direction entirely, so I won't be supporting this bill.

Debate interrupted in accordance with standing order 74 and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for a later hour.

Sitting suspended from 12.27 to 2.30 pm.

Questions without notice

Bushfires-warnings

MR SMYTH: My question is to the Chief Minister. On 18 February 2003, in response to a question from Ms Tucker about the McLeod inquiry, you stated:

As you said, the terms of reference are broad. They are all-encompassing. That was the government's intention. There is no aspect that I do not want Mr McLeod to look into. I am happy for him to look at every aspect of the response of the Emergency Services Bureau, the ACT Fire Brigade, ACT fire services, ACT police, the department of the environment and ACT Forests. Each of those possibilities is explicitly mentioned in the terms of reference.

The coronial inquest into the 2003 bushfires has revealed information that is at odds with both the McLeod report and statements made in this place. Do you stand by all the statements you have made in this place regarding the bushfires of January 2003?

MR STANHOPE: The McLeod inquiry was certainly all-encompassing and untrammelled. The terms of reference were extremely wide. I was reading from them-I believe-in the quote that Mr Smyth just made. That was a direct quote by me from the terms of reference of the McLeod inquiry.

My understanding-and I am more than happy to check it-is that Mr McLeod had access to any information that he sought or required. He had access-as I understand it-to any public official or to any person with information that was relevant to his inquiry, to his terms of reference. I am not aware of any request that Mr McLeod made that was not met. But I am more than happy to check that, and I will.

My understanding is that Mr McLeod's terms of reference, which members have available to them, were incredibly wide. At no stage did I attempt, in any way, to curtail his activities or his inquiry. I am not aware that at any stage any request that he made was refused. I am not aware that any stage any request for information or access to any official was not complied with.

Yes it was a wide inquiry. I, of course, had no control-nor did members of the government-over the direction that Mr McLeod took, the issues that he sought to inquire into, or the officials he sought to have meetings with; they were matters very much at the discretion of Mr McLeod.

I am not aware of any statement I have made in this place that was not correct. If you or anybody is aware of any statement I have made that is not correct, then I am more than happy to investigate it immediately and to correct the record. I have not at any stage said


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