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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 5 Hansard (13 May) . . Page.. 1830..


MR SPEAKER: Order! Mr Cornwell has the floor.

MR CORNWELL: I have no evidence. Within this motion there is no opportunity for this to be canvassed by the Assembly itself. The Chief Minister may like to speak individually on the matter, but there is nothing within this motion to call for him to do so. I have listened carefully to his comments that involved the fact that there is a coronial inquiry going on, but I think my colleague Mr Smyth has already answered that question, that what we are debating in here is not necessarily impacting upon that.

As I say, I understand Mr Quinlan indicated that there were three officers up there on Red Hill and, again, I have no reason to argue with that point, but I would like to have some sort of explanation-and I cannot get it out of this motion-as to why you delayed so long in coming forward on this when at least three different people, in good faith, certainly, indicated that you were there. Perhaps they have to go to the coroner now if they feel strongly about it. But I would not at all wish to impute that they are making this up, and it may be that further explanations are required; we are not getting it out of this amendment.

MR PRATT (4.43): I rise to speak to Ms Dundas's amendment to amend the motion. I will reluctantly support Ms Dundas's amendment. Why? Because I have not heard any argument from the other side at all today to refute a single one of the issues that we have raised.

The Chief Minister has failed in his ministerial responsibility, both on the day of the 18th and in the time since the 18th, in getting to grips with what actually went wrong and being open with the community about that. I have not heard any argument from the other side that would indicate to me that those concerns raised are to be refuted, so I still hold the view that the Chief Minister deserves to lose his job.

So it is with some reluctance that I do so, on the basis that I think that it is at least important and, therefore, Ms Dundas's amendment is a useful vehicle and a right and proper vehicle to ensure that at least some action is taken against the Chief Minister for the failures that we have seen: the failure to inquire as a leader, the failure to scrutinise, during and after the events, the evidence; the failure to listen to expert opinion. He has allowed himself to be dudded, not listening to expert opinion, and has consequently failed the community.

As a result of the litany of those failures, he has been led to a position where he has misled this place and the community. For that reason, the Chief Minister deserves to have action taken against him. It is against that fundamental requirement that I will support Ms Dundas's amendment.

MR STEFANIAK (4.45): Firstly just in relation to the point of the Red Hill lookout: I would certainly hope perhaps and think that the Coroners Court may well like to hear from, it seems, three individuals and indeed maybe recall the other individuals named in relation to the matter-

MR SPEAKER: Mr Stefaniak, come to the matter that is before us, that is Ms Dundas's amendment.


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