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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 1 Hansard (15 February) . . Page.. 254 ..

MR KAINE (continuing):

The community that we in this Assembly represent rightly expects that responsibility be laid at the feet of the incompetent, the ignorant and the failed managers. A real disquiet will remain in the community until that is done. The money to allow this to happen can easily be found by a government committed to resolving those issues once and for all-issues that loom large in the minds of some and perhaps many of our fellow citizens. In the absence of such a resolution, I suspect these issues will continue to loom large at the election come October.

Mr Speaker, the Chief Minister must reactivate the Smethurst inquiry. The facts of the case demand it but equally as important, or perhaps more so, natural justice demands it. In this respect, one might usefully quote the Canberra Times, which earlier this week editorialised about the unresolved issues surrounding the implosion tragedy. The Canberra Times said:

The public also are victims of what occurred and cannot be satisfied only by damages being paid to direct victims, any more than had a person been singled out for criminal punishment. The public will be satisfied only by proper assurance that systems are now in place that would prevent any recurrence, and by the certainty that all who have been involved in the mismanagement, even if not criminally liable, have been properly called to account. In that sense, no-one can yet be satisfied that full justice has been done.

That is what was said by the Canberra Times and they are words with which I totally agree.

Chief Minister, it is your responsibility to ensure that the victims of the hospital implosion-and there are many-are satisfied that justice has been done. Unless you can identify and apply some other means by which that necessary objective can be achieved, then I believe you are obligated to reconvene the implosion inquiry and see it to a proper conclusion.

MR HUMPHRIES (Chief Minister, Minister for Community Affairs and Treasurer) (3.35): Mr Speaker, I want to start by correcting a couple of misapprehensions-I will put it that way-that Mr Kaine has put on the record in this debate. First of all, let me refer to a correction of the record from yesterday. During question time yesterday, Mr Kaine asked:

... Chief Minister, in answer to my question about the Smethurst inquiry-

that was a question asked on Tuesday, the previous day-

you said, and I quote, "the inquiry is technically dormant rather than non-existent".

Mr Speaker, I have gone back to the Hansard for that day and I want to read the sentence that Mr Kaine relied on in putting his remarks on the record. My sentence read as follows:

My view is that, if technically the Smethurst inquiry is dormant rather than non-existent, it should not in fact be revived or renewed at this stage.

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