Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 2 Hansard (5 March) . . Page.. 525 ..
MR SMYTH (continuing):
community is saying that. If you were out there talking to the community, you would be listening to what they were saying. They are saying they have questions.
Mrs Cross came in here and said, "The Liberal Party is having a bushfire theme day."Mrs Dunne has been talking about her bill for some weeks and has mentioned it on several occasions in this place. Mr Pratt was talking about bushfire education late last year. He has had his notice on the notice paper for some days now. Stefaniak's bill is simply a fall-back in case this motion falls through. We are determined to give volunteers and firefighters the protection they deserve, protection that the Chief Minister is not willing to afford to them.
It is disappointing in the extreme that we have got to this position. It does not have to be like this. When anybody has sought to raise reasonable questions about what happened, the Chief Minister has attacked them in the most over-the-top ways you can imagine. There are questions out there. We have all heard them. Everyone in this place has heard them. Everybody out there is talking about them. Why were the Harden units turned back? What happened to the Yass units? Why was there a convoy sitting outside Hall? Why were the Bombala units offered late in the day not accepted? Why were Batemans Bay units turned back when they got to the roundabout as they were coming up the Clyde? Why were the reports ignored? I have heard about offers of two fixed-wing aircraft at Jindabyne. Three thousand litres were turned back. Three fixed-wing aircraft from Lithgow were offered and not accepted. Many local fixed-wing aircraft were not used. These are the questions that have to be answered. People need to have confidence that they can come forward and ask those questions and expect a fair hearing.
I am very grateful for the input of Ms Tucker and Ms Dundas today. Ms Tucker said when she voted against my proposal last time that she would monitor the situation because she had some concerns. She has done that. I am grateful for her support. Her approach very much reflects what I am hearing from the community. Up to a point they were accepting of what might happen. Now they are not sure.
Who loses today? The people who lose today are the bushfire fighters, the volunteers, the emergency services folk and our urban firefighters, whose associations have come forward and asked that they be heard.
Mrs Dunne: Mr Speaker, I take a point of order. No-one can be heard because of the constant conversation alternating with interjection, which gives the indication that the Chief Minister does not want to listen to anyone's advice, even the advice in this chamber.
MR SPEAKER: These sorts of points of order always bring to mind the old adage about glasshouses and so on. If we want to have perfect silence in this place at all times, I am happy to apply the rule to everybody, but I tell you that it will be with an iron fist and you will not like it.
Ms Tucker: Yes, I would like it. Do it.
MR SPEAKER: Nobody is so pure as the pure. Order, members! Mr Smyth has the floor.