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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 9 Hansard (16 August) . . Page.. 2700..


MR SMYTH (continuing):

should table it and prove us wrong, and table the advice that he supposedly received last night that he does not have the department's spin on yet. He should table it as well and prove us wrong.

It is inconsistent to say I received legal advice that says there were serious matters of law that forced me to join the action in September-October last year and to get legal advice yesterday to say that the points of law that the full bench found are still inconsistent, but I will not do anything now. He did it before the election but will not do it now. The Chief Minister must tell us what were the considerations in the lead-up to joining the appeal last year. He must tell us what the considerations were then and what has changed 10 months later that has led him to say he does not have to do it now. He really needs to explain exactly why he is now not going to defend these people he has so ardently defended. We get back to the shifting sands.

When this first started apparently all nine of these individuals were volunteers. They were all volunteers and he was going to defend them because they were volunteers. He was wrong. This morning he said we are attacking firefighters. They are not all firefighters, and we are not attacking firefighters. We are not in any way, shape or form attacking firefighters. People in my brigade want answers. They still want to know what went wrong on the day. They still ask what we could have done better and still want to know how we can improve the system to make sure it does not happen again. This is not an attack on firefighters. Again there are the shifting sands. There is the Shane Warne of spin at work. He is attacking firefighters. He called them beacons this morning and he throws these people in front of himself to protect himself. That why he should be censured.

MR SPEAKER: Order! The member's time has expired.

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (11.14): In the immediate aftermath of the 2003 bushfires the ACT Greens supported the establishment of a short administrative review on the understanding that it would enable government to make intelligent organisational decisions in the lead-up to the next bushfire season and address some more obvious administrative shortcomings which the catastrophe of the 2003 fires made clear existed. We also accepted that it was appropriate for the coroner to undertake the necessary judicial review rather than through the additional establishment of a board of inquiry. Our view has always been that the coroner's inquest into the 2003 fires ought to be conducted promptly and rigorously. In December last year I made the point that decision-makers in the lead-up to the fires need to be:

... held accountable for their actions, not by way of a witch-hunt, but simply as a mechanism for understanding how decisions may need to be different in the future and for determining who should take responsibility for which aspects-

I also made the point that consideration should be given to whether:

... any past poor or negligence performance by a key player or players contributed significantly to the situation that occurred.

I added then that it would be:


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