Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 2 Hansard (5 March) . . Page.. 527 ..
Mr Corbell (continuing):
reflecting on a vote of the Assembly. This matter has been considered earlier today. To revisit that debate is effectively reflecting on the vote of the Assembly. I think his attention should be drawn to that.
MR SPEAKER: I think members are entitled to ask questions about votes which have been passed. However, I draw the attention of the member-Mr Smyth-to the requirement that we do not reflect on votes of the Assembly.
MR SMYTH: I certainly had no intention of reflecting on the vote. I am, in fact, referring to the letter the United Firefighters Union has made available to other members, and seek the Chief Minister's acceptance or rejection of it.
MR STANHOPE: I might say how pleasing it is to see that the Leader of the Opposition is such a stout advocate of unionism. I reflect, initially, on how wonderful it is, for the first time ever, to see a Liberal advocating on behalf of a union. It is refreshing-it is a precedent we look forward to being replicated from time to time.
I am aware of some of the views expressed on behalf of the United Firefighters Union in the debate this morning. Of course, those views are among a range of views on these issues. As Mr Corbell said, we spent two hours this morning debating the issues around the McLeod inquiry and its suitability and the range of issues it would address.
For the second time in two weeks the Assembly, representing the people of the ACT, has rejected the Liberal Party's determination to undermine the McLeod inquiry. It was done two weeks ago by this Assembly; it was done again today by this Assembly; and I assume we will do it again either next week or the next time the Assembly sits. Mr Smyth and the Liberals are determined to undermine the integrity of the McLeod inquiry. I can see no other reason for the constant attacks on the McLeod inquiry.
Mrs Dunne: I make a point of order, Mr Speaker. The only person who seems to be reflecting on this morning's vote is the Chief Minister. The question was about whether or not the hearings would be public, among other things.
MR SPEAKER: I found it a little difficult to hear him, with Mr Smyth's interjections.
MR STANHOPE: I will say no more than that. I regret that, six weeks after the fire, we have entered what I regard as the political phase of the recovery process-a phase engendered almost exclusively by the Liberal Party. They are determined that the community not be united on this. They are determined to undermine the integrity and worth of the McLeod inquiry, but we will not allow that to happen. I have utmost faith in the McLeod inquiry. It is up and away. Mr McLeod is now working full time on the inquiry, as he will continue to do.
Mr McLeod has available to him, in Mr Ellis, one of the most knowledgeable people in Australia, in respect of fires, fire control and the organisation of response to fires. I believe the community will respond openly, fully and in detail to the terms of reference of the McLeod inquiry. I believe that, in four months time, we will have a range of recommendations in a report which will inform much of the decision-making that we, as a community, need to do in the short term, before the next fire season is upon us, to ensure that we can learn some lessons. There may be bitter lessons, or bitter pills that we