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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 3 March 2004) . . Page.. 646 ..


believe that the telephone call that I received from Mr Keady—which was the first contact I had with any of my officials on that day—was somewhere around one o’clock; I think that is what I say.

I can perhaps give some other benchmark against that because Mr Keady, in his evidence, in his statement, no doubt goes to the time that he contacted me. I have not seen Mr Keady’s statement, nor have I discussed with Mr Keady when he thinks he made the telephone call to me. But at the time he made it to me, I was in Curtin. I had made the decision, of my own volition, to attend the Emergency Services Bureau headquarters. I had a desire to be updated on what was going on—a desire that I generated. This decision was taken not as a result of any contact with any official but one that I made of my own volition.

On reflection, analysis and some refinement of my movements, I believe I commenced my journey to the Emergency Services Bureau at about 12.30. I will not swear by any of these times; these are just my rough guesstimates of my movements; I did not take notes or look at my watch at the time. I went over during lunch. I think I commenced my journey at around about, thereabouts, in the vicinity, somewhere near, approximating 12.30 or thereabouts.

I think Mr Keady called me somewhere around about, approximating one o’clock or—I am prepared to say half an hour either side of that; I will not swear by it—somewhere, I think, between 12.30 and 1.30. Maybe it was between 12.15 and 1.45, but I think probably between 1.00 and 1.30. But I cannot swear by any of these. That was the first contact I had with my officials on that day. The contact was on my mobile telephone. At the time I took the call I had entered the suburb of Curtin.

MR SMYTH: I ask a supplementary question. The Chief Minister might have already answered this; he certainly touched on it. Why did the Chief Minister decide to attend the Emergency Services Bureau that afternoon if, on the day, no-one had advised him of the dire threat the ACT was facing?

MR STANHOPE: I received no call. I received no information about the behaviour of the fire or the event of the fire—none whatsoever. I made the decision to attend at the Emergency Services headquarters because I had on that day assumed responsibility for emergency services as a result of a decision that the minister, Mr Wood, had earlier taken to take leave as and from that day.

It is relevant to note that I had had the period from Christmas to 13 January as my holiday break. I returned to duty on 13 January. Mr Wood and I believe Mr Corbell—but I would have to check the records again—were essentially duty ministers over that Christmas period; it was actually Miss Gallagher and Mr Wood. I should get the records before I leave out some part.

Some ministers had taken the opportunity—myself included; I am not sure who else—to have a holiday break. Other ministers had remained on duty. We—as all ministries do, particularly small ministries—had made prior arrangements that some of us would have a holiday break over the first couple of weeks in the Christmas period and then other ministers would take the opportunity.


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