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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 12 Hansard (24 November) . . Page.. 3627 ..

MR MOORE (continuing):

example. Members of this Assembly have also participated in that approach by supporting that legislation.

It seems to me, Mr Speaker, that we have a situation where ministerial responsibility can be taken out of context very easily. When the Leader of the Opposition says publicly that it is just a simple matter of ministerial responsibility he is misrepresenting the Westminster system and is misrepresenting what is meant by ministerial responsibility.

I will make just one small comment on the speech by Wayne Berry. He said that Mrs Carnell was simply seeking sympathy for herself and that was what it was about. I think Mr Berry would do well to read the coroner's report, because that is not the view of the coroner. "There is no doubt", said the coroner, "that the statement set out in this document is one of genuine sorrow". I must say that I am sick of hearing people in the community and hearing the Opposition say that Mrs Carnell has never said sorry, that she is not sorry, because she has and it is there. The coroner recognised it. The coroner, with no axe to grind, recognised that genuine sorrow when he said:

There is ... no doubt in my mind that the Chief Minister, personally, regrets that a young girl has lost her life in horrific circumstances.

Quite soon after that horrible accident, I spoke on the telephone to Mrs Carnell. When I returned from being away, I spoke to her. I will say in this place, and I do not mislead this place, that I know that the Chief Minister was extraordinarily upset, not the least of which was that she could personally associate with it because she has a daughter of about the same age. She was a woman who was genuinely sorry and genuinely upset. The coroner has put the lie to the sort of rubbish that is being bandied around in the community by those who have an axe to grind and who simply have something to win out of putting the Chief Minister in a bad light. It is something that she cannot say for herself, really; there is no way to say that and have it believed. That is why it is that I am comfortable in standing here and saying that I know that to be the case.

The other argument that was put by Mr Berry was that if the coroner knew about what he called political interference in WorkCover at a time before Mr Kaine was the Minister with that responsibility there would have been different outcomes and different information. What a silly way to argue. It is a silly way to argue to say that if the coroner knew about that he would have drawn the same conclusions as Wayne Berry. I have to say that I imagine that there were already many things that the coroner did know and he did draw conclusions different from those Wayne Berry would have drawn, and I am absolutely sure of that.

It seems to me, Mr Speaker, that there are many things on which all of us could say the coroner would have drawn some other conclusions if he had known about them. We cannot allow this sort of debate to degenerate to that sort of level. The reality is that this debate is really about ministerial responsibility. That is the parameter that the Leader of the Opposition put on this debate when he launched the no-confidence motion, but he still has not given any valid description of ministerial responsibility that would in any way require support of this no-confidence motion. That is simply unacceptable.

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