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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2012 Week 7 Hansard (5 June) . . Page.. 2561..


The emails, the phone calls and the text messages I received when people around this community started to read the Public Advocate's report are very enlightening. One person said to me, "Everything that we have been saying for the past two years about what is wrong with the care and protection system is vindicated in this report."This person said to me, "Everything that you"—Vicki Dunne—"have been saying is vindicated in this report."

One person said to me, "This is very sad."Then she sent me another text message and said, "No, it is not sad; it is"—expletive deleted—"depressing and it is a shame on this government."She said to me, "Vicki, I know that you could do better."But quite frankly, that is damning with faint praise, because just about anybody could do better in this portfolio than this minister has.

This minister has been a disgrace, she has been a shame and she has done nothing—nothing—except try and spin her way out of this. There has been nothing but spin since the Public Advocate's report came down. Instead of admitting the fact that we have got a serious problem when the Public Advocate says that we breached the law 24 times, we tried to come up with a justification about how we did not really. If you squint and look sideways, perhaps we did not break the law. Rather than facing up to the fact that they had a problem, they tried to come up with an excuse.

Mr Speaker, this minister deserves to be condemned. This Assembly should show that they no longer have confidence in her as a minister.

We need to draw a line under this. We need to protect the children of the ACT and we need to have a proper inquiry. The inquiries that we have seen from the Public Advocate, while they are good, look at a very narrow aspect of the care and protection system. This is the emergency response. If the emergency response is so wanting, where else are there gaping errors? This community and the children that we are responsible for looking after need a proper inquiry where we look at all aspects of the care and protection system so that we can make it better.

I commend this motion to the Assembly. It is very important. This is an incompetent minister who should not maintain her position. But in addition to that, we need to really know what has been going on in the care and protection system under the administration of Joy Burch.

MS BURCH (Brindabella—Minister for Community Services, Minister for the Arts, Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Minister for Ageing, Minister for Women and Minister for Gaming and Racing) (10.19): It is fairly predictable that Mrs Dunne would bring a motion like this on today to create some level of distraction. Needless to say, I will not be supporting Mrs Dunne's motion.

Members interjecting—

MR SPEAKER: Order! Stop the clocks thank you. Members, the minister has been on her feet for only 20 seconds and I cannot hear her over five of you interjecting at once. It is a poor start. Minister, you have the floor.


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