Page 2698 - Week 09 - Tuesday, 16 August 2005

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history. We have this series of shifting sands from a Chief Minister who has never once told us exactly what happened and who has allowed to remain on the record his failure to remember phone calls, his failure to answer where he was on the night of 17 January and his failure to answer why he cannot recall where he was on 18 January. Yet he takes 7½ minutes building this smokescreen that somehow it is all the Liberal Party’s fault, it is all our fault. He says we are here because it is our fault, not because of anything he has done.

Let us look at the shifting sands of this Chief Minister and his defence of his actions of the past couple of years. Let us look at the first excuse. The first excuse was it was a 100-year fire. Then it was a 50-year fire and then a 20-year fire. If we believe a Dr Peter Moore, a doctor of forestry, this morning, by the look of it, it is only a 10-year fire. So the first excuse was the shifting sands, that nothing could have been done with a 100-year fire. Dr Peter Moore says it is probably a 10-year fire. Then we had the historic “Don’t blame me statement”. Well, do not blame anybody. “Don’t blame me” is another story because this Chief Minister will not take responsibility for the things that he has done. Particularly in this censure motion we focus on his role as Attorney-General.

Then it was “three choices, no choices”. The other day when the full bench of the Supreme Court dismissed his claim and the claim of the nine, he said; “But I had to do it, I had no choice.” Yet we have the transcripts of him saying several months ago, “I had three choices. I could join, I could not join, I could sit tight and do nothing.” So again, there are the shifting sands. If one wonders why the story changes so much and so consistently from the Shane Warne of political spin in the ACT Assembly—our Attorney-General—it was an attempt to knobble and derail the coronial inquest. That is what it was about. If he cannot derail or knobble the coronial inquiry, he will damage the messenger so much that when she finally gets to deliver her report, we will say that it is flawed, that we cannot believe anything now because it is flawed. That is the whole purpose of what has been done and that is why we are calling this Attorney-General to account. It was quite interesting that this morning on 2CN the Chief Minister said he does not propose to appeal the decision and said:

I believe at this stage after almost three years and after almost $10 million, I think there are a range of other considerations that I need to take into account and one of those is to bring the matter to a conclusion.

Bringing the matter to a conclusion was not a consideration a month out from the election last year. What he did not want was a coroner’s report last year because he knows what will be in that report. In that report will be the truth. So let us look at his statement this morning;

I believe that this stage after almost three years and after almost $10 million, I think there are a range of considerations …

What are those considerations, Chief Minister? He has not told us any of the considerations that he has now decided were not relevant then but are relevant now. What changed, Chief Minister, except the fact that we have had an election? I think we should give the Attorney leave to speak again, to tell us what these considerations were and why these considerations were not taken into account last October. If he really wanted to bring this matter to a conclusion, why did he not want the same thing last

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