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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 9 Hansard (18 August) . . Page.. 3853..


MS GALLAGHER (continuing):

that time appropriate processes were immediately put in place to find the child, call the police and notify the parents.

The child was located within 40 minutes and the matter was reported to the department. Because the child had been found and no serious incident had occurred-it is my understanding that it was not due to anything to do with Totalcare; there was work being performed at the school at the time-there was no matter that needed to be referred to WorkCover. There are proper processes in place to brief me. I am satisfied that those processes have been met.

MR STEFANIAK: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. Thank you for that, Minister. That was not too bad, was it? But when were you briefed?

MS GALLAGHER: On the matter raised in the Assembly, consistent with my answer in which I said I was not aware of that situation, I was briefed, at my request, following question time.

Child protection

MRS DUNNE: My question is to the Minister for Children, Youth and Family Support. Minister, in response to the child protection scandal, you recently bleated, "The department could have done a better job briefing me."

Mr Wood: Point of order. As with Mr Pratt, this is the emotive language being put into these questions. I ask that that statement be withdrawn.

Mr Stanhope: It's just beyond the pale; it's just personal, vindictive viciousness, is what it is; petty-minded nastiness; a bloody suppurating boil.

Mrs Burke: What?

MR SPEAKER: Order! Mrs Dunne, I have to say that it is not helpful to use that language. Other people will have to judge how much it adds to the debate. I do not think that it is out of order.

Mr Stanhope: No, it is just nasty.

MRS DUNNE: I take your point, Mr Speaker. Minister, in response to the child protection issue you recently said, "The department could have done a better job briefing me."You were present at the hearing of the Standing Committee on Community Services and Social Equity when committee members asked questions about your department breaking the Children and Young People Act. You claimed to have read the report in August that specifically stated your department was failing to meet its responsibilities.

These events should have prompted a competent minister to ask searching questions of his or her department. It should also have prompted competent staff to highlight those events for their minister. In contrast, Minister, you did nothing until Ms Hinton sent you a facsimile on 11 December 2003. Why did you not raise concerns with your department in February when this matter was raised in the committee? Why did you not ask


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