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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 1 Hansard (28 February) . . Page.. 97..


MR SMYTH (continuing):

and you need to understand what ministerial responsibility is truly about, because today all of you, when you vote, will abrogate your responsibility to protect the people of Canberra, which is what you were elected to do.

Indeed, in some of the no-confidence motions moved by Jon Stanhope when he was Leader of the Opposition he talked about protecting the community. But when it is his turn to protect the community, like now, he is absent. He cannot tell us where he was. Then he had selective memory index; he had this memory index problem. He said earlier today, "I can remember everything I did on the day. I did what I did and did not do on 18 January. I know what I could and could not have done."Well, come and tell us what you did. Where were you the night before? Where were you until midday when you moseyed across to ESB to find out what was going on? Tell us what Tim Keady said in that phone call that you suddenly now can remember.

Mr Speaker, it comes down to two key points in this debate: Chief Minister, where were you? Where were you physically that you could not be contacted if we had to declare a state of emergency that night? If it had to be declared, nobody could find you. And what were you thinking? What was going through your mind that, in the words of Tim Keady, the reason that he prepared the brief and called for the cabinet meeting was that this was as bad as or worse than anyone else could recall? And it was; it was a very, very bad day, I can assure you.

Chief Minister, Allan Bates and Matt Luther, who were in Southern 20, who took the left flank of the fire as it came over the gully that led up to the scenic lookout at Tidbinbilla, know where they were—but they do not know were you were. Robert Flint, who was the commander of Tidbinbilla, who stood there and said, "We'll stop it here, gentlemen; otherwise it is going to go there,"wants to know where you were on the day. The crew of the Molonglo tanker that stood by those two men: they want to know where you were. Anura Samara, who was driving the light unit from Guises Creek: he wants to know where you were. Val Jeffery, who put in the back-burn that saved Tharwa because you could not be found: he wants to know where you were. The guys from Rivers, Simon Corbell's colleagues, the guys who were out with him—Pat Barling, Simon Katz and Anthony Williamson: they want to know where you were. They want to know what was going through your head—and they want to know why you are still sitting in that chair when you do not have a right to be there because you abrogated your responsibilities to the people of the ACT that day when you goofed off and you allowed your ministers to go on leave.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: The question is that the amendment to the motion be agreed to.

Mr Smyth: Mr Deputy Speaker, I was under the impression the Chief Minister was coming to speak again. I am quite happy to speak a second time to the amendment. I have a lot more to say. The Chief Minister is not speaking? Well, let the record show that the Chief Minster is not coming down to answer any of the questions that have been put to him.

MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra—Leader of the Opposition) (5.16): I think this is a rather amazing but somewhat typical debate today and I am going to start by just going through a number of issues raised by other members in this place.


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