Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 2 Hansard (20 February) . . Page.. 397 ..
MR STANHOPE (continuing):
This was the previous government's attitude to accepting its responsibilities for its administration of the disability program. This is the Liberal Party defence: "How can it be that the people who were there at the coalface doing these things which are so heavily criticised by Gallop should not be disciplined in any way for what took place, yet those who were one step behind them, the ministers and the government"-and this is where it gets really interesting-"who incidentally had no knowledge-I did not really mean to say no; I really meant to say, 'Oh, well, had little knowledge of much of what was referred to in this'-should be blamed?"
Here is the then Chief Minister standing up and saying, "We did not know what was going on in the disability program. How can we be blamed? We left that to the public servants so that we could never be blamed." This is the new view of ministerial responsibility. These are the words of the Leader of the Opposition: "We did not know what was going on." What an admission!
Mr Pratt: Mr Speaker, I take a point of order. Standing order 118 says that these matters ought not to be debated and that the question ought to be answered concisely. I just wanted to know whether the Chief Minister accepted the Gallop report. I am not getting an answer on that.
MR STANHOPE: It is interesting. "We did not know what was going on." It is the John Howard defence. "Don't ask and you can't get into strife." It is the same thing. "We did not know what was going on in the disability program. How can you blame us? Blame the public servants. They knew what was going on. We didn't know what was going on. We have taken our lessons from Howard. Don't ever ask and you won't ever get into strife and you never have to accept responsibility. If you don't know, if you don't ask, you are not responsible." How interesting.
Mr Humphries: Can you answer the question?
MR STANHOPE: I have explained in detail. I regret that you have not taken the point. I have explained in detail the framework and the process that this government has put in place in responding to the Gallop report. I am not going to pre-empt that by saying that I accept this recommendation and I do not accept that recommendation. I have no doubt that amongst the 50 recommendations and 93 findings in the Gallop report there will be some about which there will be from within the disability sector, from some of the organisations and a range of the individuals, a wide range of views about their good sense. There will be a range of views about whether or not one or all of the recommendations should be-
Mr Humphries: You said they were supportive.
MR STANHOPE: No. I said they were supportive of the process. I have no doubt that over the next six months, particularly because of the very open and collaborative framework and process I have put in place, we will see-and I hope to see-a vigorous debate about how we are going to implement and how we are going to respond to the individual recommendations. To expect that there is going to be unanimity on the 50 recommendations and the 93 findings is just absurd. To expect the government to stand up today and say, "I have put in progress a rigorous process for assessing and