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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 4 Hansard (1 April) . . Page.. 1499..

The Assembly voted-

Ayes 16

Noes 1

Mr Berry

Ms MacDonald

Mrs Cross

Mrs Burke

Mr Pratt

Mr Corbell

Mr Quinlan

Mr Cornwell

Mr Smyth

Ms Dundas

Mr Stanhope

Mrs Dunne

Mr Stefaniak

Ms Gallagher

Ms Tucker

Mr Hargreaves

Mr Wood

Question so resolved in the affirmative.

Amendment agreed to.

Debate interrupted in accordance with standing order 74 and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for a later hour.

Sitting suspended from 12.30 to 2.30 pm.

Questions without notice

Bushfires-acceptance of responsibility

MR SMYTH: My question is to the Chief Minister, Mr Stanhope. In the days after the 18 January 2003 bushfire disaster impact on Canberra's urban edge, you said that if any blame were to be levelled by the community at those responsible and involved in the ACT's emergency response, that blame should be cast upon you. In support of your motion of no confidence in Mrs Carnell following the coroner's report into the hospital implosion you said, "At the end of the day, the minister is responsible."Will you stand by your pledge to accept responsibility for failures in the ACT emergency response in January 2003?

MR STANHOPE: I thank Mr Smyth for the question. It is particularly important that all elected representatives accept responsibility and that they accept it genuinely. I have no issue with accepting my responsibilities. I will accept them and I will do it fully. I will accept my responsibilities in relation to any aspect of my role, my function and my responsibilities as Chief Minister, as a minister and as an elected representative of the people of the ACT.

Of course, there is fair way to travel in terms of the coronial inquest into the fires that impacted on Canberra in January 2003. I have expressed the view many times in this place, and I will continue to express the view, that I think it important that we not interfere with the workings of the coronial inquiry. I think it particularly important that we not pre-empt the outcomes of the coronial inquest or prejudge anybody that has appeared or has yet to appear before the inquest-indeed, anybody involved in fighting the fire on 18 January 2003 and in the days leading up to that.

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