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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 2 Hansard (6 March) . . Page.. 657 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

taken what the Chief Minister has said at face value and is concerned. Between 11.49 and about 11.52 this morning the Chief Minister consistently said that the Liberal opposition, Mrs Dunne in particular, wanted to sack the team of Sandy Hollway, Terry Snow, Rob De Castella and Maureen Cane. He kept repeating that.

He also kept making imputations in relation to the opposition undermining the McLeod inquiry, alleging that we claim that Rod McLeod is engaged on a whitewash. The opposition has said that that is blatantly wrong. One very good reason for having this censure motion is what Mrs Dunne said yesterday in introducing her bill:

We are all well aware of the expertise in the bushfire task force. I have previously congratulated the government on assembling such skill and such talent in such short time. The skill and talent extend not just to the task force members but to the staff that support them. I can think of no better person than Sandy Hollway to head up this task force.

That quite clearly praises the task force and says that that body should become the authority in the bill Mrs Dunne introduced.

Mr Corbell: Your bill gets rid of the task force.

MR STEFANIAK: It does not. It appoints those people. Yet the Chief Minister has consistently said today that we want to sack the task force. That is misleading in the extreme and worthy of censure. That is why the Liberal Party wants to move a censure motion. It is crucially important that people be as accurate as they can and not deliberately mislead. The Chief Minister has misled not just once or twice. He has done it on a number of occasions today.

MRS BURKE (4.09): As a relative newcomer to this place, I found the Chief Minister's outburst this morning, as now, extraordinary. I thought you were a man of a bit more decency than that, Chief Minister. It is as clear as the nose on your face, Chief Minister, that the Liberals have never said that they want to sack Sandy Hollway, Terry Snow, Maureen Cane or Robert de Castella. Chief Minister, I think it is rude and offensive that you would say such scurrilous things. You sit there laughing now.

Mr Stanhope: I do.

MRS BURKE: You do. You have answered my question. For the Chief Minister to say what he has said this morning is misleading in the extreme. I find it in bad taste. It does a disservice to our profession, Chief Minister. It may be naive of me, but I have always felt that, whatever else goes on in this place, misleading this house is unacceptable and should not be tolerated. I believe that the Chief Minister did mislead this house this morning and should therefore be censured for his misrepresentations.

MRS CROSS (4.11): I am not going to support a censure motion against the Chief Minister. It is absolutely hypocritical of the opposition to accuse the Chief Minister of hypocrisy and of double standards.

Mr Stefaniak: Comrade.

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