Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 8 Hansard (29 August) . . Page.. 2329..
MR SPEAKER: Is there a supplementary question?
MR PRATT: My supplementary question is this: given the very explicit quotes by you that I read out in the previous question, why didn't you correct the record in the Assembly at the earliest opportunity, as required by the ministerial code of conduct, and will you now table the two expert, independent reviews?
MR CORBELL: I am very pleased to give consideration to tabling those reviews. I will do that and come back to the member as soon as possible. In relation to the matters around my comments, my comments at all times were accurate and were based on the advice I received from the emergency services authority at that time. I do not think the ministerial code of conduct requires me to correct comments I made if the circumstances changed after I made those comments.
Mr Smyth: It does; it actually does.
MR CORBELL: I do not believe that any ministerial code of conduct requires a minister to correct the record if circumstances change after they make the comments. The requirement is that the comments are factual and accurate at the time they are made, and I believe my comments were.
MR SPEAKER: There are two people on warnings on the opposition bench, and I still sense that there are some mumblings. I am serious about those warnings.
MRS DUNNE: My question is to the minister for emergency services. Minister, following the release of the Auditor General's report on the FireLink project, you said on ABC radio this morning that the four-month trial for this project was deemed a success after only eight days by the former authority.
Minister, why did you say today that the authority foreshortened the trial when it clearly states on page 16 of the Auditor-General's report that the foreshortening of that trial was carried out by the emergency services bureau because the authority did not exist for another two months?
MR CORBELL: Mr Speaker, this is the great furphy that we have from those on the other side of the chamber on this matter. The reality is—and all of us who were there at that time know it to be true—that, following the 2003 fires, the new authority was effectively in operation even before the legislation was formally enacted.
The government had appointed a new head of the ESB who was the commissioner designate. For all intents and purposes, the ESB was already operating as an independent authority and was already advising government directly on these matters. The then chief executive of the Department of Justice and Community Safety was accepting the advice of the new head of ESB, shortly to become the commissioner, on all matters affecting emergency services.
Just imagine the outrage from those opposite if, in the immediate months following the 2003 fires, the Department of Justice and Community Safety was still seeking to