Page 204 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 8 December 2004

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MRS DUNNE: Sometimes they are not cover-ups; sometimes it is just a Carmen Lawrence excuse: “I can’t remember.” We all had a touch of the Carmen Lawrences last year. The Treasurer, although he went to a briefing where he was told that we had a 60 per cent chance of a state of emergency, that various things would happen such as that substations and Uriarra Forest would go, that this would have an impact on the urban edge—and they named the suburbs—

Mr Quinlan: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: what relevance does this have to the Attorney-General?

MR SPEAKER: It is a wide ranging debate but, given that it is a no confidence motion in the Attorney-General, we should stick to the subject matter.

MRS DUNNE: Coming out of a briefing that told the cabinet all these things, the Attorney-General and the Treasurer said, “Well, we don’t recall being told anything all that drastic and we did not have a perception that anything serious was going to happen.” Oh, please!

Mr Quinlan: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: Mrs Dunne has just impugned what I have said in this place about what I remember and do not remember. “Oh, please!” she said. Now she is stretching the rules; she has got to be outside the rules because she is effectively saying that I have lied in this place.

MR SPEAKER: That was not the language that I heard, Mr Quinlan. There is a wide ranging debate going on about the Assembly’s confidence in a minister, and it is difficult to restrict the debate.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (5.30): I understand that, Mr Speaker. What happened at that meeting was that advice was given that there would be a 40 to 60 per cent chance of a state of emergency being declared over the weekend and that that would have an impact. There was a list of suburbs from the west of Canberra, from Belconnen, south to Tuggeranong, with Weston and Dunlop listed, yet ministers say afterwards that they cannot remember. There was an interjection earlier about whether I was there. No, I was not there, Mr Speaker.

Let’s put the matter in context. I have had a discussion a number of times with my colleagues about extraordinary cabinet meetings. I worked in this place as a ministerial adviser for two assemblies before I became a member and in the time of my being a ministerial adviser or political staffer there was one extraordinary cabinet meeting where my boss had to go into cabinet and discuss a particular issue. I remember everything about what was discussed in the run-up to that and I remember the things that were discussed and the things that were done as a result of that. I have gone and asked the people in the Legislative Assembly who were there at the time and they remember it vividly.

I tell you, Mr Speaker, that it was not about whether a large proportion of the ACT might burn down. It was a matter of finances and it was a problem. They remember that vividly. To put it in context, ministers had had days and days of briefings, had had helicopter rides and had been told a range of things, yet they do not have a clear

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