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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 12 Hansard (24 November) . . Page.. 3624 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

graphically illustrated by an email sent to Mr Hopkins on 11 June 1997 and also quoted and tendered in evidence in the inquiry. I read this email:

Regarding the date for the demolition of the Acton buildings, I discussed the timing with Kate, who is keen to be there for the big event ... Alternatively, would the contractor and 106.3 have any objection to actually doing it on the Saturday 12 July. I suggested Sunday rather than Saturday to maximise TV coverage ...

Again, there was the priority that underlies and emphasises the importance given to this event by the Chief Minister. The decision was made to conduct the public event by Mr Gary Dawson, who had, according to the coroner, the Chief Minister's complete authority to make this decision on behalf of the Government. Mr Dawson was therefore acting as an agent for the Chief Minister and the Government and with her absolute approval. The Minister must be held accountable for the actions of her officer.

The no-confidence motion against the Chief Minister today brought by Mr Stanhope is the only avenue available to us to hold the Chief Minister accountable. The coroner stated:

I do not accept that this procedure was necessarily correct or even appropriate for a project of an industrial site such as being carried out on the Acton Peninsula.

The coroner himself did not accept that the move to a public event was in any way appropriate for a project such as the implosion of the old Royal Canberra Hospital. Indeed, the coroner highlighted the example of the implosion at St Vincents Hospital in Sydney in 1992 that was conducted in the early hours of the morning, with a minimum of fuss. As a result, the potential for any accidents was dramatically reduced. It is a pity that the Chief Minister, as the Minister responsible, did not seek a similar outcome for the Acton site. We would then not be forced to debate this motion we are debating today. In conclusion, the words of the coroner must echo in this place:

The overall responsibility for the project fell to the Chief Minister Mrs Kate Carnell.

Members of this place are left with no option but to pass a motion of no confidence in the Minister, as her agents and officers within her office and her department and acting with her full endorsement failed to pay due attention to the paramount issue of public safety. Rather, they concentrated on the need for media exposure, an emphasis which had tragic consequences. The Chief Minister has stated that she accepts responsibility for the failings in relation to the implosion, but those words are hollow and meaningless without this place passing the strongest possible sanction - a motion of no confidence.


(Minister for Health and Community Care) (4.43): I suppose the most disappointing thing about this motion is that what is clear - and it is clear that there was a predetermined position before the coroner's report came down that there would be

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