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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 8 Hansard (20 August) . . Page.. 2939 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

not think anyone in this place would like to see that genetic information being misused in a discriminatory or unlawful way. With that, we simply thank Mrs Cross for bringing the matter to the attention of the Assembly.

MR SPEAKER: The discussion of this matter has concluded.

Mrs Cross: Can I seek leave to speak again?

MR SPEAKER: It is open to you to do that, but it has not been the convention here on matters of public importance.

Mrs Cross: Mr Speaker, I seek leave to speak for a moment.

Mr Stanhope: We have a convention, which parties in this place have always respected, that speakers speak once on matters of public importance. I am not inclined to give leave.

Leave not granted.

2002-2003 bushfire season

Debate resumed.

MR CORNWELL (3.45): Mr Speaker, I wish to make some brief comments on this censure motion. Obviously, I support the comments of my colleague Mr Smyth. A couple of things have come out of this debate, however. It seems to me that the government protests too much. Mr Wood spoke earlier today of his disappointment that the opposition were putting forward certain information because, in his words, we were breaking ranks.

I do not see it as a breaking of ranks in respect of this motion, because we also have a responsibility to the people of the ACT to be a watchdog, to make sure that the government is kept up to the mark in terms of its promises and commitments. I am afraid that, in relation to the points raised in the censure motion, these promises and commitments have failed. I do not believe that we have all the answers; nor do I believe that the people of the ACT have been given all the answers by this government. Mr Smyth's motion, at paragraphs (5), (6) and (7), sets out some of the points on that.

There has been a plethora of reports and inquiries, just as there will be a continuing number of reports and inquiries relating to this matter, and there is a real danger, regrettably, that we will find ourselves buried in so many bits and pieces, so many aspects of the 18 January wash-up, that we will become confused. It is important, therefore, to remain focused on the main points. I wish to focus upon two points in relation to the Chief Minister's comments and criticisms of Mr Smyth and the opposition in relation to our stand on matters relating to 18 January.

Firstly, Mr Stanhope, as Chief Minister, although he has backed away from it a little subsequently, has said that he took full responsibility for what happened. Mr Stanhope, that is very generous of you, but you must remember that if you are

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