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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 2 Hansard (5 March) . . Page.. 509 ..

MS DUNDAS (continuing):

he should. I cannot understand why the government is so resistant to moving the McLeod inquiry under the Inquiries Act and I do not understand why it did not put the inquiry under the Inquiries Act in the first place.

The bill tabled this morning by Mr Stefaniak to protect people making statements to the inquiry would, at first glance, appear to solve some of the problems, but it would be better for everyone if the government promptly moved the inquiry under the established auspices of the Inquiries Act.

MR STANHOPE (Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Community Affairs and Minister for the Environment) (11.15): Mr Speaker, the government does not support Mr Smyth's motion. Although Mr Smyth's motion retains the government's announced terms of reference for Mr McLeod's operational review of emergency services, it is defective in a number of ways.

Firstly, Mr McLeod's inquiry is already under way. To seek to change the arrangements for the inquiry now would simply lead to further delay. Secondly and fundamentally, Mr Smyth's motion would not achieve the required outcome of providing a thorough examination of the preparation for and response to the January bushfires in time for the lessons learnt to be incorporated into planning and preparation for the next fire season. Further, Mr Smyth's motion continues to operate on the misplaced and erroneous view in his previous related motion of 19 February 2003 that a judicial inquiry in parallel with the coronial inquiry is both needed and could achieve a more beneficial outcome.

I might just say by way of digression from my prepared notes that in listening to both Mr Smyth and Ms Dundas just now neither of them referred once to the coronial inquest which is under way. They did not mention it. The fact that under way at this moment is a fully-funded and resourced coronial inquest did not raise a mention. Let's change the word "coronial inquiry"; let's actually expand the description to "coronial albeit judicial inquiry". Let's just change the words "coronial inquest". There is another way of describing a coronial inquest. A coronial inquest is a judicial inquiry. There is under way at this very second a judicial inquiry into the fires.

At this moment, there are 10 members of the Australian Federal Police gathering evidence for the judicial inquiry which is currently under way into the fires. Those 10 Australian Federal Police investigators assisting the judicial inquiry which is currently under way have spent over a week in the offices of the Emergency Services Bureau. They have photocopied and collected thousands and thousands of pages of information and evidence for the judicial inquiry which is currently under way.

The Director of Public Prosecutions is in the process of appointing senior counsel to assist the judicial inquiry which is currently under way. The judicial inquiry which is currently under way has advertised in the Canberra Times and in the Canberra Chronicle for submissions to the judicial inquiry. The advertisement placed by the head of that judicial inquiry, Coroner Maria Doogan, in the Canberra Times and the Chronicle says:

Under the provisions of the Coroners Act, the ACT Coroners Court is conducting a comprehensive Inquiry-

that is, a judicial inquiry-

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