Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 2 Hansard (7 March) . . Page.. 277..
MR STANHOPE (continuing):
I think it was probably after 10.00 when we were still consulting on a range of things, a rural fire fighter came into the Emergency Services Bureau. The one and only rural fire fighter I saw that day was Mr Smyth. He came into the centre at, I think, about 10.00 or 10.30. He walked in, walked down the corridor, turned around, walked back, went down another corridor, walked through a few offices and came back.
I was talking at the time to Peter Lucas-Smith and Mike Castle. I said to Mike and Peter, because I was feeling a bit awkward that Mr Smyth was not doing anything or talking to anybody, "He is obviously looking for something. Perhaps somebody should give him a hand."The response came back: "Oh, no, there is no way we can help him. The TV cameras left half an hour ago."The only visit to the Emergency Services Bureau headquarters by a rural fire fighter on the evening of 18 January was by Mr Smyth, and the knowing response of the Emergency Services Bureau senior headquarters was: "There is no way I can help him. The TV cameras have already left."That sums up Mr Smyth's sorry role in all of this.
MR SMYTH: Chief Minister, why do you think it is acceptable for the position of Chief Minister of this territory to be a 9.00 to 5.00 job, especially in the face of the impending disaster?
MR STANHOPE: I work extremely hard, always have and always will, as Chief Minister—a position which I hold with enormous honour and respect; a position, I am glad to say, for the sake of the people of the ACT, Mr Smyth will never hold. We thank the wisdom of his colleagues for that, to some extent. It was a decision that they had to take and in relation to which there was no alternative. It is a position which I hold with enormous honour and gratitude, which I intend to hold for quite some time yet, which I enjoy and in relation to which I work enormously hard. On any day of the week, compare my work program and my hours with those of anybody in this building and I know what the result would be.
MR SESELJA: My question is to the Chief Minister. Minister, yesterday you gave your account of the meeting called on Saturday, 18 January at 2.00 pm where it was agreed to declare a state of emergency. Chief Minister, why does your account of the meeting contradict the account given by the chief police officer under oath to the coroner?
MR STANHOPE: I gave an account of the meeting under oath to the coroner as well and I stand by it.
MR SESELJA: I ask a supplementary question. Chief Minister, who called the meeting and what was its purpose and agenda?
MR STANHOPE: I think those are facts that are probably able to be determined through a study of the transcript of the coronial inquest. I would refer the member to the transcript. I am sure he can find the answer to those questions.