Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 2 Hansard (5 March) . . Page.. 524 ..
Mr Stanhope: Here we go-into the gutter.
Mrs Dunne: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Can I ask you to do something about the Chief Minister's constant interjections?
MR SPEAKER: Fair point.
Mrs Dunne: This has been a fairly civilised debate, except for those sorts of interjections.
MR SPEAKER: Point taken. Order, members! Mr Smyth has the floor.
MR SMYTH: Whom does the Chief Minister reject today? Whose calls does he reject? He rejects the calls of the volunteer bushfire association. He rejects the calls from Clive Swaysland on behalf of their 700 members. Whose calls does he reject? He rejects the calls of the UFU, the United Firefighters Union, which called for an independent inquiry. Whom is he listening to? Why is he ignoring the firefighters?
The Chief Minister obviously threw his prepared speech out after about seven seconds because he could not resist reverting to his standard defence. He said that the government will not be supporting my inquiry because it will add to the delay. Who is delaying it already? This could have been already set up as an independent inquiry under the Inquiries Act.
Then the Chief Minister could not contain himself. He went straight to the independent judicial line. Who has been running the independent judicial line? The Chief Minister has. For his information, there is no call for a jurist or a member of the judiciary to be involved in an independent inquiry under the Inquiries Act. It talks about a chairperson of a board appointed under section 6. It talks about members. This is not a judicial inquiry. Where does it say "judicial inquiry"in the motion, Chief Minister? This is all a smokescreen.
What has been revealed by the dissent between Mr Corbell and the Chief Minister today is a case for not having the McLeod inquiry at all or pushing even harder for an inquiry under the Inquiries Act to get to the bottom of why the Chief Minister is so against this.
Let us look at the process that got us to the McLeod inquiry. Initially ESB was going to do an internal review of what it had done on the day. Then there was to be an external review of the internal review. Because we raised doubts about that process, then it was to be just an external review of what was done on the day. Then we stopped using the word "review"and we turned it into an inquiry.
This has always been the Chief Minister's approach. He has constantly called for bipartisan support on this. And what has the opposition given? Bipartisan support. When people were criticising the Chief Minister's response to the bushfires, I told them to stop bitching and let the firefighters get on with their job. The Chief Minister said that when we got to the end of the fires we would have was a full, frank, open and honest inquiry. That is not what we are getting.
I am not saying that. Volunteers are saying that. The firefighters are saying that. The