Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 2 Hansard (20 February) . . Page.. 390 ..
Debate interrupted in accordance with standing order 75 and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for a later hour.
Sitting suspended from 12.45 to 2.30 pm.
Questions without notice
MR HUMPHRIES: My question to the Minister for Health relates to the Gallop report which he tabled yesterday. Since you received the Gallop report on 18 December last year you have stated that the report is critical of the actions of the former government-in fact, "damning" is the word that you used. You have to some extent staked your credibility on its criticisms of the former Liberal government.
With the one minor exception of a mention of the former health minister and the administration of the COOOL homes contract, can you point to any part of the report which names any former minister in any way, let alone critically, or for that matter, the former government? Isn't it true that you have misled the community and the families of the residents of the COOOL homes by stating that the Gallop report is critical of the former government?
MR STANHOPE: I thank the member for his question. Of course, the question goes to the heart of the Leader of the Opposition's understanding of issues around governments and ministerial responsibility. The report is a critical report. It opens with a statement by the board of inquiry to the effect that services to people with disability in this community have not been well delivered.
The Leader of the Opposition makes the assumption that, because the report does name a number of individuals who were involved in the delivery of services to people with disability, thereby the government of the day is completely exonerated. This is a fanciful notion that there are two levels of responsibility. There is a government responsible for governance of the territory and, pursuant to the achievement of those responsibilities, there is a public service that is charged with the responsibility for executing the government's policy position and its agenda.
The Leader of the Opposition supposes that there is some sort of division between the government of the day and the execution of its policies, and the administration that is actually put in place and executed as a consequence of the government's attitude, policies and legislation. Of course, this is the very issue that went to the heart of the debate we had in this place about the implosion of the hospital and the resultant consequences of that. It is relevant to the debate we had in this place about Bruce stadium. It goes, of course, to the very issue of ministerial responsibility.
The Auditor-General in his final report on enhancing professionalism and accountability goes to this issue and makes a finding on the previous government's attitude to ministerial responsibility. He actually refers specifically to extracts of debates involving the then Deputy Chief Minister and Attorney-General. This is the Auditor-General's conclusion in relation to this party's attitude and this particular Leader of the Opposition's attitude to ministerial responsibility. This is what the Auditor-General said: