Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 16 February 2005) . . Page.. 478 ..
we return for our third sitting week, I imagine the motion will be that the Attorney-General—
Opposition members interjecting—
Mr Hargreaves: Point of order, Mr Speaker. I am trying to listen to the Chief Minister and I cannot hear a thing.
Opposition members interjecting—
MR SPEAKER: Members of the opposition, cease your interjections.
MR STANHOPE: Take a Bex and have a good lie down, perhaps.
Ms Porter: Take a week off.
MR STANHOPE: Take a week off. That’s it, the sin bin. I can imagine the motion next month. In December it was: “Attorney-General, your sin is so great, so appalling that you must resign”. Now, in the next sitting week, it is: “Attorney, this is a dreadful sin, a conflict of interest. You must stand aside.” The third sitting week, of course, is in March and I can imagine we will have another motion. After all, it is in the interests of the Liberal Party to trawl for what puerile political advantage they believe they can obtain from this particular issue, and it will be: “Well, look, to the sin bin for a week. Declare yourself absent for a week. Don’t come to work next week. Give the job to somebody else.” That is the level to which we have descended in relation to this nonsensical motion, this suggestion that there is some conflict of interest; the suggestion that the Attorney-General, the first law officer of the territory, having involved himself in an appeal in a court, has somehow sought to undermine the processes of the court or the judiciary when, in fact, his very intention was to achieve the reverse.
The ACT government is represented in this coronial inquest and appears willingly before it to provide assistance consistent with the approach it has adopted from the outset to the coronial inquiry. We have provided every single document that the inquest has sought. We have answered every single question, to the extent that we have been able to, that has been put to us. We have provided every single witness that has been sought. I, of course, as Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory—not as Attorney-General, but as Chief Minister—attended to answer questions that were put to me about some of the administrative or practical arrangements or circumstances that applied in the lead-up to the fire. I attended as Chief Minister, as a representative of the cabinet and as a representative of the government to provide assistance, just as I provided the cabinet documents, just as I provided every other document in the possession of the ACT government that was sought of us.
It was simply part and parcel of our determination to ensure that this inquiry was full and unencumbered and that there was not a single aspect of the administration of the emergency services or a single aspect of the issue in relation to the fire that was not made available to the coroner. Of course, it is a great irony now that, as a result of the exuberance of our response and our determination to be absolutely helpful, the Supreme Court is now suggesting there might be issues around the extent of the jurisdiction that has been taken or pursued or assumed by the Coroners Court in relation to the matter. Of