Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 2 Hansard (5 March) . . Page.. 542 ..
MR STANHOPE (continuing):
dropping on the table as fact, "Why were the Harden units turned back?"That is an assertion. Is it true that they were? I can ask the Emergency Services Bureau. What happened to the Yass units? I do not know, but I can ask. I would think that these are all issues on which, to the extent that they can, the Emergency Services Bureau would be more than happy to provide a response. Certainly, in the context of the detailed submissions that they are preparing for both the McLeod inquiry and the coroner, they will be answered. There is no doubt about that.
Of course we will get to the bottom of all of these issues. But I have a major concern around this throwing on the table as fact of these random emergings, so-called facts with no context, without any authentication and, even now in this place, with no intention of suggesting what is the sources of these stories, these so-called facts, and then expecting me not to take some umbrage at that and not to feel defensive. I am criticised for this now. I am criticised now for being too determined about protecting the reputations of hard-working, dedicated, loyal public servants in the Emergency Services Bureau.
Mrs Dunne: I take a point of order. It is a matter of getting an answer to the question. It was not about the reputations of people. It was a question about how we would deal with cross-border issues through the McLeod inquiry. The Chief Minister has not in any way, shape or form addressed that issue. He has refused to answer the question.
MR SPEAKER: We have been through a dozen times, maybe two dozen times, maybe even three dozen times how ministers of the parties on either side of this house have answered questions and how they have responded to questions from non-executive members. It is really in the hands of the ministers, provided they keep to the point.
Mrs Dunne: My point of order, Mr Speaker, is that he has not been to the point.
Mr Smyth: I take a point of order, Mr Speaker.
MR SPEAKER: One at a time, Mr Smyth; just contain yourself. If they keep to the subject matter of the question, they are entitled to continue. Mr Smyth, you have a point of order.
Mr Smyth: That was the point, Mr Speaker. Standing order 118 (a) says that the answer shall be concise and confined to the subject matter. Mr Cornwell has not got an answer to his question about how the matter will be addressed by the McLeod inquiry.
MR SPEAKER: It is pretty clear that the subject matter is the relevant inquiry and it has something to do with the bushfires. The Chief Minister is sticking to that matter.
MR STANHOPE: I will conclude, Mr Speaker, by saying that the McLeod inquiry will take submissions from anyone from anywhere-anybody in New South Wales. Members of the Harden fire brigade, the Yass fire brigade and the Batemans Bay fire brigade are more than welcome to make submissions to the McLeod inquiry or, indeed, to the ACT coronial inquest, just as I believe they will be so invited to make submissions and to appear before the New South Wales coronial inquest.
There are three opportunities for everybody across all borders to be involved in all three processes. There is no inhibitor, nothing to stop them. The ACT coroner has also