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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 12 Hansard (18 October) . . Page.. 3741..


MR STANHOPE (continuing):

I must say I could not in all conscience agree to a motion such as this without some explanation and some understanding of the basis for this apparent further reflection on the capacity of Mrs Dunne. If this is another ambush, I think it only appropriate that we hear from Mrs Dunne as to whether or not she believes this is an appropriate step. Her removal from her position as opposition whip and manager of opposition business is to be now compounded by her removal from standing committees of the Assembly and leads then, of course, inevitably, to the question of whether or not she is to be removed from her shadow portfolio responsibilities. In a context where Mrs Dunne has expressed publicly her concern at being ambushed by the Leader of the Opposition, I could not agree to this motion until Mrs Dunne has been afforded an opportunity to indicate to us whether or not she is relaxed and happy and that this is a position with which she fully agrees.

Debate interrupted in accordance with standing order 74 and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for a later hour.

Sitting suspended from 12.32 to 2.30 pm.

Questions without notice

Bushfires—warnings

MR SMYTH: My question is to the Chief Minister. In 12 emails, Emergency Services Authority planning officer Rick McRae attempted to warn the government of the grave risk of fire danger in the suburbs of Canberra. Just three weeks before the Canberra fires of 2003, which killed four people and thousands of animals and wildlife and resulted in the loss of 491 homes, Mr McRae wrote:

Fire fronts could move through gardens, and embers could start spot fires well within the suburbs.

Chief Minister, why did your government take no heed of these warnings?

MR STANHOPE: I thank Mr Smyth for the question. I do, of course, again note the comment—

MR SPEAKER: Order! This is—I have just put the paper down—evidence that is—

MR STANHOPE: That is what I was just about to say.

MR SPEAKER: before the coroner.

MR STANHOPE: Today, yes; questions are being asked about it today.

MR SPEAKER: I am disinclined to allow questions that go to evidence that is before the coroner today. I think that is an inappropriate use of question time. I think I will disallow the question.

Mr Stefaniak: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. In the course of the coronial inquest there will be evidence given to the court and matters will be laid before the court and, as


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