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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 8 Hansard (25 August) . . Page.. 2405 ..

MR MOORE (continuing):

But the reality is that the coroner made a recommendation and the person charged with the responsibility under the self-government Act of making a decision on that has made that decision. If she determines to continue with that decision, she should do so. But that does not stop a motion being moved in this Assembly saying, "We call on you". It does not stop Ms Tucker going to the Chief Minister and saying, "Look, Chief Minister, I really think this is a bad mistake for these reasons", and that is the sense that I get of the motion here. That is the sense I get of the motion, which is why Ms Tucker has used the words "We call on", rather than "We require you to".

I have noticed that a number of the motions on the notice paper today actually use the words "The Assembly requires the Government", as opposed to "calls on the Government". It would be inappropriate for the Chief Minister completely to ignore the call. If the majority of this Assembly says, "That is what we feel", it would be inappropriate for the Chief Minister completely to ignore the call, but it would also be inappropriate for the Chief Minister to deliver just because that is what the Assembly called on her to do. It is still her responsibility, charged under the self-government Act, to make this sort of decision.

Mr Wood: Nobody else can make it.

MR MOORE: Mr Wood correctly interjects that nobody else can make it. I think that it is important to recognise that it is her decision to make. It is appropriate for her to listen to what the Assembly says and then, having listened to it and, remember, having listened also to what the coroner has said, either verify her decision or say, "The Assembly has made a point. There have been such strong arguments put forward that we will act differently". But I think it is important to make sure that all members understand that it is entirely and completely the Chief Minister's decision. This is not one of those motions where you can come back and say, "The Chief Minister ignored the Assembly; therefore, we should take further action". It is much more in the sense of being advisory.

MR HARGREAVES (3.58): Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, I reckon that this motion is most appropriate. What we are seeing here is the Government actually pre-empting the results of the inquiry that it has said is going to be a worthwhile one. That is unfortunate. In fact, what has happened here is that we have had a recommendation from the coroner and the Government has picked up that recommendation and run with it and yet still included it in an inquiry. The inquiry will only check out whether the Government made the right decision. There is no rush about this matter.

Ms Carnell: It is already done. It was done yesterday.

MR HARGREAVES: For the Chief Minister's benefit, I will rephrase it. There is no need to have rushed it. There is plenty of reason to say, "Okay, we have made a slight mistake. We will just fix it", as simple as that, "to avoid the obvious criticism that is going to come". If this Government is serious about having the issue examined and serious about having it out for community consultation, why bring something on and then inquire later? It is only paying lip-service to the inquiry process.

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