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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 7 Hansard (29 June) . . Page.. 2875..


MR CORNWELL (continuing):

There are obvious deficiencies in this process. On your admission, there was no investigation as to whether a ministerial office had leaked the report. Secondly, it is obvious that, if a public servant did leak the Vardon report, they would not be silly enough to tell the chief executive of your department that they did so. As somebody has suggested, you may well have asked Inspector Clouseau to look at it.

Chief Minister, why didn't you call in the Australian Federal Police-perhaps one of the 21 new policemen that Mr Wood spoke of earlier-to conduct a proper inquiry once it became obvious that the process conducted by the chief executive of your department would never find out who was responsible? Why do you say that you are satisfied with this process when it is obvious that the process was inadequate?

MR STANHOPE: I took the decision that, in light of the detailed inquiry that the chief executive of the Chief Minister's Department undertook, nothing was to be gained by a further or a police inquiry.

MR CORNWELL: I have a supplementary question. Why didn't you investigate whether a minister or a ministerial staffer had leaked the report if you were satisfied that it did not come from the department?

MR STANHOPE: My memory is that only two offices within the executive received copies of the report, namely, my office and the office of the Minister for Education and Training. The report certainly was not leaked by my office and I have absolute faith in Ms Gallagher and her office. I know that details of the report were not leaked from any ministerial office and I felt no need, nor do I feel any need, to question or even consider the possibility.

Child protection

MRS BURKE: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Minister for Children, Youth and Family Support, Ms Gallagher. Minister, in a joint media release on 25 May 2004 you and the Chief Minister acknowledged "the ongoing administrative failures related to the care and protection of children in the ACT". You have failed to hold anyone accountable for these failures. You have moved the functions relating to the care and protection of children to a newly created unit with the Chief Minister's Department.

Minister, how will you be able to ensure that this unit remains accountable to you when you failed to do this when it was located within your department? Do you intend to have this unit returned to your department at some stage in the future; and, if so, when?

MS GALLAGHER: I thank Mrs Burke for the question. Just to clarify: the failure of the department was in relation to handing on allegations of abuse of children in the care of the territory to the Community Advocate, not a failure in care and protection of children in the ACT. And that's a very important clarification, Mrs Burke, and one, I think, that the opposition plays on and clouds in the public debate on this issue.

In relation to your allegation that I failed to keep my department accountable when it was reporting to me under education, youth and family services and how can I assure you now: I just refer back to the Vardon report which clearly shows that I was not briefed on


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