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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 3 Hansard (11 March) . . Page.. 1076..


MS TUCKER (continuing):

people making disclosures are sufficiently protected and supported while inquiries proceed?

MR STANHOPE: I am aware of Ms Tucker's long history of interest in issues around the utilisation of the public interest disclosure provisions at the University of Canberra. I have not had a recent update in relation to those issues. I will get a full response to address the concerns Ms Tucker has raised.

MS TUCKER: Thank you for that, Mr Stanhope. Can you also confirm now whether the AFP has pursued or is pursuing allegations of fraud involving the university union as identified by the Auditor-General in report 6 of 2003?

MR STANHOPE: I do not know the answer to that, but I am more than happy to find out.

Mr Phil Cheney

MRS DUNNE: My question is to the Chief Minister. In response to a dorothy dixer from Ms MacDonald last week, you advised that Phil Cheney would be giving the Canberra Day oration. To give some context, Chief Minister, this is the person about whom you stated in October last year:

I didn't know that Phil Cheney existed until a few weeks ago; I didn't know there was any such individual. I didn't even know there was such a person.

On 21 October last year Mr Cornwell asked you a question about comments by Mr Cheney of the CSIRO, that he had warned the Emergency Services Bureau about the 2003 fires and their likelihood of coming to Canberra earlier in the week before they came. In response you said:

I don't believe he told the Emergency Services Bureau.

You continued:

As I say, I'm not aware that he told anybody within this government of his concerns or his fears. I'm not aware of what discussions he had with the Emergency Services Bureau, but he had no discussions with me; he didn't write to me; I'm not aware that he wrote to any member of the government. We now know he didn't actually brief the media on the position.

We know now that Mr Cheney had told the territory's chief fire control officer of his concerns. We also know that an Emergency Services Bureau planning meeting on Tuesday 14 January, attended by, amongst other people, the chief fire control officer, the director of the Emergency Services Bureau and the chief executive of Justice and Community Safety, discussed Mr Cheney's warning. Will you now correct the record regarding the inaccurate statements you made about Phil Cheney, a distinguished Canberran?

MR STANHOPE: Mr Speaker, as Mrs Dunne has just explained in the quotes she attributed to me, I said I am not aware that he has contacted any member of the government. My statement was correct-I was not aware.


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