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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 1 Hansard (15 February) . . Page.. 258 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

But now, as we know, Mr Madden's expectation cannot be met, and despite the broad ranging nature of his coronial inquiry, there are major and quite glaring gaps in the story. As long as there are quite evident gaps in the story, Mr Humphries is wrong in his assertion that the matter has been resolved. There can be no resolution, no closure, until the full story is told.

To date legal processes have made that impossible. Mr Madden was quite right to excuse Mr McCracken and Mr Fenwick from giving evidence to the inquest. The fact that Major General Smethurst has surrendered his commission has, it would seem, removed any immediate avenue that would allow the story to unfold.

This event-the implosion, Katie Bender's death and the very real threat to thousands to others-has scarred the Canberra community. The community wants answers to its concerns about the implosion and it wants assurance that it will not be subject to a similar blunder again. Three and a half years after the implosion the community has not been given this.

I note that the Chief Minister does not hesitate to raise Katie Bender's death and the Bender family's grief in relation to his attempt to actually smear and malign those of us who actually do want this matter brought to a conclusion. He uses them in his condemnation of us.

As recently as last week, the counsel for the Bender family very publicly expressed the view that the Bender family are not satisfied with the fact that the inquiry has not been as full and fulsome as it may be. I resent very much the aspersion that the Chief Minister has just cast in relation to the Bender family because the fact is that the Bender family are perhaps the most dissatisfied of the people of Canberra about the process that we understand has now been completed. They are the people in Canberra most dissatisfied that this matter has not been appropriately concluded. So do not let us have the situation of the Bender family being thrown in the faces of those of us who are seeking to see this matter brought to some finality. We know what the Bender family think and we know what they want. They want proper and appropriate closure of this issue.

The political, governmental and administrative process that gave us the implosion needs to be fully examined. That examination is needed so that the community knows what happened and for what reasons. More importantly, we need to know what happened so that it will not happen again. We need to know precisely what went wrong, we need to know all the details of what went wrong, so that it will never ever happen again. That is why we need to know. This has to be prevented. This appalling accident, this appalling blunder, must never again occur and if we do not fully investigate we cannot give that assurance.

The inquiry does not have to duplicate the coronial inquiry. The inquiry itself can determine the extent to which the coroner has covered the field and decide on the areas it should examine. The inquiry could start by taking evidence from people such as those who did not give evidence on the basis that they were concerned they may incriminate themselves and from people such as Mr Kaine, a minister at the time, who sought to give evidence at the coronial inquiry and was denied the opportunity. There are gaps that should be filled.

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