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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 5 Hansard (7 May) . . Page.. 1262 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

I do not even know if she is still in the building. She has clearly left the chamber; she has probably left the building. This is the height of Mrs Cross' concern for people with a disability. Mrs Cross, if you think that you can get the numbers on your side of the house for the impending leadership challenge, you won't get it this way. We know your party room is completely fractured; we know you are in dire straits; we know, Mrs Cross, that you have got some scores to settle; and we know you are looking for the numbers. You won't get them this way.

And you won't get them, Mrs Cross, by attacking your leader in the way that you did in the speech that you gave. Suggesting that at no stage of the debate on the Gallop report have you or the Liberal Party poured scorn or doubt on the integrity or capacity of public servants is a joke. There is not a public servant in Canberra who does not know that you abandoned them completely for what you anticipated would be short-term political gain. Your approach from the outset was to castigate me and blame a group of public servants for daring to pursue a legal remedy in relation to what they regarded as unfounded allegations. You attacked them mercilessly, you attacked them completely and you attacked them publicly. Every public servant in the ACT public service knows that you did. They tell me so.

Mrs Cross, contradicting your leader and his personal attacks on those public servants, will not get you anywhere. You will not get the numbers by showing that degree of disloyalty to your leader, contradicting him absolutely in the way that you did in your speech.

We need to go back to some of the fundamentals of the Gallop report. The Gallop report is a significant report, and we take its recommendations seriously. But it is a report on the Liberal government. Of course, none of them have accepted responsibility for this. The hallmark of their stewardship of the ACT was never to take responsibility.

Mr Corbell: Not, not, not responsible.

MR STANHOPE: As Mr Corbell says, "Not, not, not responsible." You refused to accept any responsibility for your stewardship of the health portfolio or the delivery of disability services to the people of Canberra. That is what Gallop focused on; that is what it is all about.

I have tried, in this debate, to look forward. It is important that we look forward. I was not interested in looking back; I was not interested in pointing a finger. But you were determined to politicise the issue from the outset. I have no interest in or desire for that. You know this, and the record will show it. When this report was released, my determination was to take the issue forward and depoliticise it.

We all battle with issues of care for the disabled and are concerned to ensure that vulnerable people within our community receive appropriate levels of care. To that extent we all have consistent aims. There are circumstances that will occur, whoever is in government, that we would wish were otherwise. We have seen that in disability service delivery, we have seen the tragic deaths of people in the care of the disability services program and we have seen the distressing and tragic deaths of people who were clients of mental health.

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