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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 12 Hansard (24 November) . . Page.. 3592 ..

MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, I do not want the rope. There is no case here. Mr Speaker, there is much more to be said about what WorkCover has done. There is much more to be said about the reforms that the Government has put in place. What we are clearly doing is acting in good faith. This began before the implosion. The coroner himself has commented that the Government and the civil servants are to be commended for what they were doing. Labor was attacking me for my explosives regs, and he now comes back in his report and says that these were appropriate. He says that in the final document, and he even lists the reforms that we have made.

Mr Speaker, we have taken a reasonable approach to this. We have taken responsibility for this. We are rectifying faults that the coroner has found in our performance. If you actually read the report properly you will find that those opposite ignore what the coroner said in many cases. For instance, he exonerates the WorkCover inspectors, he says no-one can seriously attribute blame to Mrs Carnell, and he says the Government is to be commended. You must take a balanced view of it. Those opposite simply put on a political sham. Why do they do that? Because they have nothing else to offer.

MS TUCKER (2.56): Mr Speaker, on Sunday, 13 July 1997, a young girl died on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin. It was a death that should never have occurred. After a long and detailed inquest the coroner has found that two persons should be charged with criminal offences, the explosives contractor, Mr McCracken, and the demolition contractor, Mr Fenwick. Their fate is now in the hands of the courts. However, the coroner also found that these two persons were just the final actors in a tragic chain of events in the mismanagement of the implosion that led up to that fatal moment.

Today we are debating the Chief Minister's role in this mismanagement. I can accept that the Chief Minister was not directly involved in the day-to-day management of the demolition contractors, but what we are debating today goes far beyond the findings of the coroner. His role was to determine the cause of Katie Bender's death and the identities of persons who contributed to her death. The coroner makes the point that his investigation was about determining which person's conduct directly caused the death. I accept that Mrs Carnell's actions did not directly cause Katie Bender's death, but I believe that the actions of her Government significantly contributed to the circumstances in which Katie Bender's death occurred. The contributory circumstances were also highlighted by the coroner.

This motion of no confidence is about the issue of ministerial responsibility. It is about this Government's approach to the role of government. It is about the consequences of this approach. It is about how this approach has led to a diminishing of expertise in the Public Service, to a fragmentation of government service delivery, to a distancing of government from responsibility for community services through corporatisation and privatisation, and to a loss of accountability within the system. It is not to determine who is criminally responsible for this death. It is about whether the Chief Minister should be held politically accountable for this totally unacceptable process.

This Government is obviously not alone in the approach that it has taken. Other governments have been equally enthusiastic. However, other governments are also coming unstuck as the community uses its electoral power to make the point that the

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