Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 4 Hansard (1 April) . . Page.. 1501..
MR STANHOPE (continuing):
Let's get the record straight about that. Let me say that I think that Dr Baker, over the last 10 years, has provided an enormous service, particularly to Canberra and to this region, in terms of the sustainability reporting that he has done and the incredible database that is beginning to be established as a result of the work that he has done.
That does not mean, acknowledging the esteem in which I hold Dr Baker and the extent to which I acknowledge his fantastic contribution to Canberra and to the nation, that I will agree with everything he does and says. That is the point. Here we have a report that Dr Baker has delivered. I do not believe that it is as rigorous as I might have liked it to be or it could have been. I do believe that it is simplistic. I do believe that in its structure and construction it really gives a misleading picture of issues within the ACT.
If reports are received, opinions are put or findings are made and we do not agree with them, I think it only appropriate that we say that we do not agree. Can you imagine what the situation would be if we said, "It is from a person of significant reputation and standing. We had better not disagree. We had better agree with everything. We had better take it as given. We had better not point out what we regard as the gaps, the flaws or the shallow analysis"?
I am staggered when people stand in this place and raise as a matter of concern or criticism the fact that we do not all agree all the time with everything that is presented to us in reports provided to government. That does not mean for one minute that it lessens my esteem for Dr Baker or his standing within the community. All it means is that I do not agree with everything he says.
MRS DUNNE: Chief Minister, is this just another example of you shooting the messenger, as you always do when anyone criticises you? Have you read the report?
MR STANHOPE: No and yes.
MR PRATT: My question is to the Chief Minister. Mr Stanhope, can you assure the ACT community, in the aftermath of the January 2003 bushfire disaster, that the government's inquiry will fearlessly get to the bottom of all circumstances surrounding the disaster? On 4 February 2003, you said on Radio 2CN regarding the forthcoming McLeod inquiry, "It'll be open, it'll be public, it'll be conducted freely and frankly and fearlessly."I refer to comments by Mr Richard Arthur, President of the Phoenix Association, reported in today's Canberra Times as follows:
Mr Arthur said the big question that people wanted answered-why they did not receive more warning of the fire-should have been answered by the McLeod report into the operational response to the disaster, issued in August last year.
The paper goes on to say:
He said it was important that people were able to understand why things happened the way they did. "To that end, the inquiry-
he means the coroner's inquiry-