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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 11 Hansard (21 October) . . Page.. 3856 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

through the first containment line, the strategy was that it would be contained at a further line, which was partly established and was being further established during that week. The great hope, which, in retrospect, we know was not realised, was that the fire would be held and contained.

However, in that theorising about fire behaviour, I am not aware that anybody, at any stage up until 18 January, predicted that a firestorm involving winds of up to 200 kilometres per hour would evolve out of the fires burning in the Brindabellas at that time. Absolutely nobody, as I understand it, predicted that. I do not believe that even the CSIRO scientist of recent fame predicted the fire behaviour.

Mr Hargreaves: He said he did not.

MR STANHOPE: Mr Hargreaves advises me that, in fact, Mr Cheney did not predict the firestorm or that winds of up to 200 kilometres per hour would be generated. These are the questions that the inquest will now look at: the extent to which it was a firestorm, and that the microclimate was generated by the particular nature of the fires that ultimately led to the advance of the fire and the destruction which ensued, a factor totally unpredicted and unexpected.

No, I was certainly not advised by anybody, Mr Pratt, of any conversation in which the position was put that these fires are likely, in your words-not "maybe", "could", "perhaps", "there is precedent"or "in a worst case scenario"-to burn into Canberra. No, I was never told that at any stage.

I ask that further questions be placed on the notice paper, Mr Speaker.

Personal explanation

MRS DUNNE: Mr Speaker, I would like to make a personal explanation under standing order 46.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mrs Dunne.

MRS DUNNE: Thank you, Mr Speaker. During question time the Chief Minister accused me of blatant hypocrisy in respect of hazard reduction burning on Oakey Hill. He also referred to the period when I was an adviser, not a senior adviser, to the previous minister for the environment, Mr Humphries.

Mr Speaker, I resent the accusation of hypocrisy. My personal position is quite simple: hazard reduction burning should be undertaken when required, in good time, based on climate, not politics.

Mr Quinlan: Point of order, Mr Speaker. I think Mrs Dunne has the right to rebut anything that Mr Stanhope has said, but not to parade her credentials during an explanation such as this.

MR SPEAKER: Well, having gained leave from me to make a personal explanation in relation to a matter where she has claimed to have been misrepresented, she is entitled to

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