Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 2 Hansard (6 March) . . Page.. 633 ..
MR SMYTH: My supplementary question is: Chief Minister, why does your government support a judicial inquiry into the trial of convicted murderer David Eastman but is not prepared to give the McLeod inquiry into the worst natural disaster this territory has ever faced the ability to do its job properly?
MR STANHOPE: I think the McLeod inquiry is an excellent inquiry. I do not think, like the Liberal Party, that the McLeod inquiry is a whitewash. I certainly do not think that the head of the inquiry, Ron McLeod, would lower himself to engage in a whitewash. That is just another scurrilous defamation. If you don't like what is happening, if you think the politics are a bit crook-
MR SPEAKER: Order, members!
MR STANHOPE: Play the man; don't play the issue. Go straight for McLeod. McLeod would engage in a whitewash. Bring down one of those ACT citizens of the highest integrity.
Mr Corbell: Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Mr Pratt has consistently interjected on the Chief Minister for the duration-and he has now interjected on me again. Mr Pratt has consistently interjected throughout the Chief Minister's answer. You have warned him on number of occasions, and he is still doing it. I would ask you to take the appropriate action, Mr Speaker.
MR SPEAKER: Mr Pratt, Mr Corbell has my leave to stand and make the point of order. Don't intervene, or you won't get the chance to do it too many more times. I want you to maintain order.
MR STANHOPE: Mr Speaker, I think the McLeod inquiry is appropriate in the circumstances. It is a short, administrative inquiry. Agreement has now been given to provide protection against defamation for those wishing to make submissions or appear before the McLeod inquiry. That is a consensus position we have now arrived at.
I still have some issues on this but, for the sake of taking it forward, depoliticising the issue and allowing the McLeod inquiry to operate in an environment where the inquiry and its outcomes will have the confidence of the community, we will cooperate with Mr Stefaniak and ensure that those who wish to appeal or make submissions are protected from defamation.
The other point to made is: let's not forget the judicial inquiry that is currently running. There is a full-blown judicial inquiry currently in operation in the ACT, assisted by 10 members of the Australian Federal Police, after whom senior counsel will be employed and on which the coroner, Maria Doogan, is already working. It is a major inquiry, which will take at least two years and cost us between $1 million and $2 million. We will leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of information on the fire-every aspect of it.
Mr Smyth invited me to talk about David Eastman. If I were to do justice to the reasons why we have taken the attitude and the position we have in relation to David Eastman, it would take me another half and hour, and I do not know whether the Assembly would