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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 7 Hansard (3 July) . . Page.. 2705..


MS GALLAGHER (continuing):

the ongoing uncertainty. They are the things that the Chief Minister and I need to meet over in the next few days.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary question from Dr Foskey.

DR FOSKEY: I am tempted to ask Mr Mulcahy's supplementary question. Instead I ask: has there been a regulation put in place, given that nothing has come to the Assembly, to extend the act? Otherwise, could you explain what governance issues do arise?

MS GALLAGHER: Thank you, Mr Speaker. I will have to take that question on notice, Dr Foskey, and get back to you.

Children—protection

MRS DUNNE: My question is to the Minister for Children and Young People, Ms Gallagher. Minister, you were quoted in the Canberra Times on 21 June this year, with regard to the 2004 concerns surrounding allegations of abuse of children in government care that had been ignored for a number of years:

... if I had failed to do my job ... I would go ...

Minister, despite four years of analysis since the Vardon report and an associated litany of reports and amendments to legislation, despite complaints from Health about the failure of the central intake area, we have seen in the past fortnight a vulnerable family exposed to unacceptable media scrutiny, adverse comments from magistrates and prosecutors, a failure of communication in your department, a failure of practices between your department and ACT Policing, an apparent inability of your department to deal with police, and your own admission that you knew nothing of this case before it broke in the public. Do you take responsibility for this and, if so, will you stand by your own commitments and now resign?

MS GALLAGHER: I certainly stand by the comments I have made. I hold that very close to my heart—that if I did not do my job properly, if I fail directly in the execution of my duties as a minister, I would stand aside. However, I do not believe—and Mrs Dunne can make it sound as outrageous as she did in her preamble to the question—that there has been a failure in care and protection here and I do not think the opposition have been able to establish that there has been a failure in care and protection.

My job, of course, where there are issues that are raised and when they first come to my attention, is that I respond to those, and that is exactly what I have done in this case, and you will not be able to prove otherwise.

If you are suggesting to me that I am responsible for the issues that led to those matters becoming national media, then prove it, Mrs Dunne. Prove it, because I find that the most offensive and outrageous suggestion that anyone has ever accused me of in this place. So you prove it, Mrs Dunne; you prove it—and you cannot

MR SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mrs Dunne?


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