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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 12 Hansard (24 November) . . Page.. 3643 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

not speak to the media until after the Chief Minister on that day. I did, at that stage, call on her to resign, but only after she had announced that there was absolutely nothing in the report that warranted her resignation. Of course, are we suggesting that Mrs Carnell actually read the report more quickly than I? That is the logical conclusion of this outrageous and ridiculous point that is being put by Mr Moore and others. I did not foreshadow this motion until it was clear she had made up her mind that she would tough it out; that she would not accept her responsibilities.

Mr Speaker, the Chief Minister has relied heavily for her defence on an interpretation of the notion of ministerial responsibility that neither she nor her Ministers could be held to account for the administrative failings of departments or agencies under their control. Yet, as I said this morning, the Chief Minister's own code of conduct for Ministers sets the standard she is bound to respect. According to the code, ministerial responsibility requires the individual responsibility of Ministers to the Assembly for the administration of their departments and agencies. That is the standard. That is where the bar is set. And by any measure the coroner clearly demonstrates that she falls well short. She has no defence on this count.

There is a responsibility that can be applied here. In that matrix the Public Service is responsible to the Minister; the Minister is responsible to the parliament; and the parliament is responsible to the people. The test that arises from the matrix is, as I have mentioned, proximity. And in this case, the proximity is such that Mrs Carnell's fingerprints are all over it. They are Mrs Carnell's fingerprints and they are all over this case. It is a test Mrs Carnell fails.

None of the defences mounted by the Government stands. There is no defence adequate to avoid her responsibility. Instead, members should reflect on some words of the coroner in his report into the death of Katie Bender. He said at one stage in his report in relation to the evidence that he was receiving:

One sensed the defensive barrier was created to protect what was not done, or should have been done, or was done badly, so as to paint a picture which would deflect or minimise the gravity of their failures, deficiencies and omissions.

It is the gravity of the Chief Minister's failures, deficiencies and omissions that demands that she goes.

MR SPEAKER: In accordance with standing order 81 this motion must be carried by an absolute majority. I therefore propose to call a vote on the matter.

Question put:

That the motion (Mr Stanhope's ) be agreed to.

The Assembly voted -

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