Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 8 Hansard (5 August) . . Page.. 3495..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
Yesterday or the day before when we debated another issue we made sure that the members of boards who were no longer directors in voluntary organisations took responsibility for taxation. Children have been damaged and we have a failed administrative system, but nobody is taking responsibility for that. The community has a right to ask, "How can the minister or the government say that they have confidence in those who continue to run this service?"
MRS BURKE (11.51): I was not going to say too much at this stage, given that it was a Standing Committee on Community Services and Social Equity report and a cognate debate. However, it seems to have gone a bit broader than that, given interviews in the media that have gone on today in relation to this matter. I understand that has been dealt with under separate cover.
Mr Hargreaves made mention that the committee did not have conversations about the lack of safety and, moreover, a lack of compliance to report suspected cases of child abuse. Surely, if that is not a matter of safety and totally irrelevant, I do not know what is. The government's penchant for going back and back into issues is disappointing. I think that has already been mentioned by my colleague Mr Cornwell.
I am extremely disappointed that Minister Gallagher is being hung out to dry by two other ministers-ministers Corbell and Stanhope-and that is quite clear. I am disappointed that this fairly new minister to the position-which has been said time after time-has been left to stand there to take most of this rap. However, when a person becomes a minister, they assume the mantle; and they assume accountability and full responsibility. I think it is naive and quite churlish for any of us to stand up and say, "It wasn't me; it was the government before; it was the government before that."
May I say, Mr Speaker, that we all know-and it has been acknowledged as well in this place, moving along-that the former Liberal government did indeed act upon information. They were the government that set in place and set in train-and my colleague Mr Stefaniak may want to talk about that in due course-the legislation. They did do something, despite the comments that have been made. I am still getting calls to my office. You can carp on and say this is not happening or that is not happening, but it is.
I think it is quite expedient now to again talk about some of the issues raised in the committee. They have been spoken about at length. I think there have been serious failings on the part of this government to address the issue and I still believe that the government and the minister knew well before. If she did not, then why is she not holding her government or her department accountable? Why is the Chief Minister not here today? Perhaps he has forgotten to be here.
Mr Hargreaves: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: Mrs Burke has implied that the minister knew something and has not brought it before this Assembly. That is an imputation against the character of this minister and I ask her to withdraw it.
MR SPEAKER: I think it is a point of debate.