Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 2 Hansard (6 March) . . Page.. 191..
MR STANHOPE (continuing):
the fact that the Chief Police Officer had, in fact, travelled to Sydney on the day of the fire. Mr Quinlan and Mr Wood, in statutory declarations, and I, in evidence that I gave, commented on the advice given to cabinet. On the basis of that advice, two of the cabinet ministers present, in other words 50 per cent of the cabinet, felt such a lack of alarm or concern at the nature of the briefings that two of them went on holiday, one to Melbourne and one to his home in Canberra. On the basis of that same advice, the Chief Police Officer went to Sydney on the day of the fire.
It is not true to suggest that the commissioner was not invited. He was explicitly invited. In fact, the meeting was delayed while we awaited his arrival.
MR SMYTH: I ask a supplementary question. Chief Minister, how long was the meeting delayed for? What was the original time that it should have started?
MR STANHOPE: I do not recall that at this juncture, four years after the event.
MR SESELJA: My question is to the Attorney-General. Minister, on Tuesday, 27 February you criticised the coroner as having gone too far. The Canberra Times quotes you as follows:
"They were political comments and it was the coroner, in the Government's view, venturing into the political realm,"he said.
"I think the coroner crossed the line ... particularly when she made no recommendations about [those points]-she simply made a number of comments."
Mr Stanhope continued to attack the coroner during last Wednesday's debate. Why, as Attorney-General, have you not only failed to defend the coroner from attacks upon her-
Mr Stanhope: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. That is a reflection on a vote taken before the Assembly.
Mrs Dunne: No, it isn't; it's a comment about something that happened in the debate. It's not a reflection on the outcome.
Mr Stanhope: It was; it was a reflection, and I dispute the allegation in any event, so it is a reflection. It doesn't reflect what I said. I did not attack the coroner. I disputed findings but I did not attack the coroner at all.
Mrs Dunne: On the point of order, Mr Speaker: the standing orders require that you can't reflect upon the outcome of debate, on the actual vote, not about that which was discussed in it. Mr Seselja wasn't reflecting on it; he was referring to its existence.
MR SPEAKER: I think a member is entitled to refer to these things but not reflect on the vote. Mr Stanhope, I think the point you raise is a debating issue, which you may wish to deal with by way of some other form of statement.