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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 2 Hansard (3 March) . . Page.. 645..


MR SPEAKER (continuing):

... this is just more hot air from the chief windbag.

That is unparliamentary language and I order you to withdraw it.

MR Smyth: I so withdraw.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Smyth counterclaimed that Mr Corbell had said something nasty in the course of his debate. The transcript reads as follows:

It does have the implementation that Mr Smyth quite misleadingly laments.

Mr Corbell, I order you to withdraw that.

MR Corbell: I withdraw Mr Speaker.

Questions without notice

Bushfires-declaration of a state of emergency

Mr SMYTH: My question is to the Chief Minister. On 29 May 2003 you advised the Estimates Committee on the time you first held discussions with your public service on 18 January 2003-and I quote:

Certainly, let me just say this: not only was I not advised before midday to de a state of emergency, I didn't even speak with a member of the Emergency Services Bureau or any other senior officer or, indeed, any member of the ACT public service before midday. At no stage between 12 o'clock and 2 o'clock did anybody raise with me the declaration of a state of emergency.

My first contact with an ACT official on the day of the fire was somewhere between-I'm guessing, I'm guessing this-between 12 and 12.30, when I had a telephone conversation with Mr Tim Keady, as I was driving to the Emergency Services Bureau, and that was my first conversation. I decided for myself to attend the Emergency Services Bureau. My memory is that I left my home at around about midday, having decided for myself to attend.

Does the Chief Minister stand by his answer to the Estimates Committee, given that we know that Mr Tonkin and Mr Keady both attended the planning meeting at 9.00 am on the 18th and heard that bushfires were likely to threaten an area between Weston and Greenway that afternoon with a potential threat to Belconnen?

MR STANHOPE: I again acknowledge that I will be a witness before the coronial inquest next Monday and that these questions will of course be aired in that appropriate forum.

In terms of timeframes-I am going on memory in relation to the actual times-I attended the Emergency Services Bureau at what one might say is lunchtime; a timeframe that we normally equate to be between 12 o'clock and 2 o'clock. I have now lodged a formal statement with the coroner pursuant to a request from counsel assisting coroner that I provide a statement to the court in relation to that. I think that in the statement I have given to the coroner's court-I do not have it with me-I state that I


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