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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 09 Hansard (Wednesday, 17 August 2005 2005) . . Page.. 2842 ..


MR STEFANIAK: And the community wanted it, as Mrs Dunne says. I cannot even recall what it was but it seemed sensible at the time. The sky did not fall in. There were no great problems, and I suspect that might well be the same here. So I cannot see what problem Mr Seselja’s amendment cause. The amendment is different from the one we dealt with yesterday.

I thank Dr Foskey for her contribution to the debate. She made an interesting point. Coronial inquests in the territory are invariably wide ranging. Even when the court started going off on its own little tangent, the Attorney-General said he intended this coronial inquiry to be wide ranging. He said it in 2003, and I am very pleased to see he said it in February. I backed him on that because that is what we want to see, too. But Dr Foskey raises an interesting point. Probably that is something the legal affairs committee could take on and talk to her further about.

Our motion today is broader than what the government has and does effect closure. That is what people want. I do not think accepting it will cause any dangerous precedent. It is somewhat hypocritical of the government to suggest that, because I recall many motions it used when in opposition either calling on or directing the then government to do something. All our motion does is call on the government to ensure that we can move on and have closure; that there is no risk that this long-running coronial inquest is going to be further derailed and cause further angst to all the victims. I suspect even the nine individuals Mr Stanhope champions would want to see this matter over and done with as well.

The fundamental duty the government has is to the whole community, which wants answers, especially to the people who have suffered. There are certainly more than 500 of them and many of them are still suffering. They wanted a motion such as this so the government could rule out definitely any further action and any further funding of a High Court appeal by any individual who might want to go further. The community is saying that enough is enough. Let us get on with the job and hope the coronial inquest can finish soon. It is a pity the government’s amendment will succeed. Of course, the government is rejecting the opposition’s motion. That is something a number of victims would still be concerned about. But I hope that we will now see the coronial inquest come to a speedy end, that answers will be given to the people’s questions and that closure will be effected.

Question put:

That Mr Seselja’s amendment to Mr Stanhope’s proposed amendment be agreed to.

The Assembly voted—

Ayes 8

Noes 9

Mrs Burke

Mr Seselja

Mr Berry

Ms MacDonald

Mrs Dunne

Mr Smyth

Mr Corbell

Ms Porter

Dr Foskey

Mr Stefaniak

Ms Gallagher

Mr Quinlan

Mr Mulcahy

Mr Gentleman

Mr Stanhope

Mr Pratt

Mr Hargreaves


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