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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 2 Hansard (6 March) . . Page.. 617 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

with a statutory authority. I believe it is a fairly significant reflection on Sandy Hollway, Rob De Castella, Terry Snow, and Maureen Caine that the Liberal Party do not think they are up to it and would like to see them essentially sacked and a statutory authority brought in to replace them. That is a real concern, but an issue over and above the discussion of these estimates, of course.

Mr Stefaniak: I believe the proposal was that they be the statutory authority.

MR STANHOPE: They are not available to be the statutory authority-the proposal is that they be sacked. It is a major concern that the Liberal Party thinks that Sandy Hollway, Terry Snow, Rob De Castella and Maureen Caine should be sacked and the taskforce disbanded. That is a major concern to me and is very reflective of the attitude the Liberal Party has taken generally to issues around the measures which have been put in place to respond to the bushfires.

The politics are emerging pretty savagely and sharply now. There is absolute determination to undermine the McLeod inquiry. Yesterday, the Leader of the Opposition was already claiming that Ron McLeod was engaged in a whitewash. Now we have the Liberal Party wanting to sack Sandy Hollway, Terry Snow, Rob De Castella and Maureen Caine from the taskforce, and have them replaced with something else.

It is getting a bit low down and personal over there. I guess that is reflected in almost everything coming from the Liberals these days. It is all about politics and positioning, and nothing to do with recovery-and I regret that. I regret the fact that they have felt the need to get that personal, to shoot those sharp slings and arrows, undermining Mr McLeod. Fancy suggesting that Ron McLeod, the immediate past ombudsman-a person of unparalleled integrity, capacity and professionalism-is engaged in a whitewash!

Mr Stefaniak: No-one is suggesting that, except you. That is nonsense.

Mrs Burke: That is atrocious, Chief Minister-retract that right now!

MR SPEAKER: Order, members!

MR STANHOPE: Look at yesterday's Hansard. That is what your leader said-that he is engaged in a whitewash.

Mr Quinlan: Greg didn't agree.

MR STANHOPE: That's right. Of all of you, the only one prepared to disown that claim was Mr Cornwell-the only one with integrity. He jumped up and said, "Look, he is not talking for me. I am not prepared to suggest that he is engaged in a whitewash."

We now have the next stage in the attack-the next stage in the petty politics. Let's sack the taskforce! They are not up to the job! In the context of this appropriation bill, the work of the taskforce is very significant.

Mr Stefaniak: I think you will find that the taskforce becomes the authority. Get your facts right.

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