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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 12 Hansard (24 November) . . Page.. 3623 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

to the implosion, but reality indicates another more important requirement for the Chief Minister and her Government. That reality was that of a photo opportunity to be pursued.

The coroner indicates that only in June 1997 was the question of safety seriously addressed. What was her and the Chief Minister's office main concern prior to June 1997? A series of emails between officers of the Chief Minister's Department and Mr Gary Dawson, the Chief Minister's media adviser at the time, illustrate this point. I would like to refer to some of them now. In an email sent by Mr Hopkins, an officer from the Chief Minister's Department, to his then supervisor in the Chief Minister's Department, Ms Moiya Ford, on 14 April 1997, it says:

Gary is now preparing a series of press releases ... The first press release will deal with the process, - when who Savings etc. The Second round of media outgoings will be for a Celebration of Change - history in the making ... I suggested selling VIP seats with a view and a glass of champagne for charity.

Mr Hopkins, in an email to Mr Dawson on 2 June 1997, said:

Arrangements for event aspects of the demolition are going well ... MIX will promote the event three weeks out from the implosion ... They will sell bricks from their 4wd's which they will cross to during the day.

The Chief Minister's Department, represented as the client by Mr Hopkins, may have been better utilised and their attentions better spent in dealing with public safety rather than with the extensive efforts they made for this media stunt in the making. These emails only confirm the emphasis and priority of the Chief Minister's Department in regard to this project. The coroner said:

There is no doubt that after the tenders had been let and a decision made on the 18th April 1997 for a public event to be held that the appointed contractors, Messrs McCracken and Fenwick, should then have been informed at this early stage.

They should have been informed that it was a public project; that it was going to be a public event. The use of email has often been described as a great tool for preparatory work, but it is no substitute for a meeting. Instead of wasting time organising the next photo opportunity for the Chief Minister, the inappropriately titled "Celebration of Change" via email, the officers in her department and her office should have been organising a meeting with the contractors as early as April 1997 advising that it was to become a public event and that they would have to take the appropriate steps.

They did not do so. This is the abrogation of responsibility which this Opposition levels against the Government today. The coroner cited the example of an email sent on 4 July 1997 by section publications to no fewer than 48 organisations in the ACT Public Service, part of the Gary Dawson/CMD/Chief Minister's office promotional push. The extent of the media frenzy that the Chief Minister's office wanted to generate is

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