Page 3035 - Week 10 - Tuesday, 23 August 2005

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Leave of absence

Motion (by Mrs Dunne) agreed to:

That leave of absence be granted to Mr Mulcahy for this sitting week.

Distinguished visitor

MR SPEAKER: I acknowledge the presence in the gallery of Mr Wood, a former member and minister of the Assembly.

Members: Hear, hear!

Questions without notice

Ms Clea Rose

MR SMYTH: My question is directed to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, now that a young woman has died as a result of injuries she sustained in the recent hit-and-run accident in Civic, will there be a coronial investigation into the circumstances surrounding her death?

MR STANHOPE: That is a matter, of course, for the coroner. My understanding of the Coroner’s Act is that, yes there would be a coronial inquiry into that death. But I would have to take advice on the specific requirements of the Coroners Act. I cannot imagine why there would not be a coronial inquiry. I will need to take some legal advice.

On my understanding of the way in which the Coroners Act operates, it is essentially a decision that would be taken by the chief coroner. I am happy to get confirmation of the position in relation to the Coroners Act and provide that advice to the Assembly today.

MR SPEAKER: It has been brought to my attention that you might have been asking for a legal opinion, Mr Smyth.

Mr Smyth: No, I do not believe so Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: It is pretty close to it. Mr Smyth, a supplementary question—which will not be a request for legal advice.

MR SMYTH: No, it will not be, not that the original question was either, Mr Speaker. My supplementary question to the Chief Minister is: will you undertake not to interfere with the coronial process, should it go ahead?

MR STANHOPE: I wondered what the trick to the question was. When you get these trick questions, you think, “Yes, I assume there will be a trick to it.” I just said to Ted, “I presume this is one of the classic trick questions.” By one of those amazing coincidences, that was the conversation I was just having with the Deputy Chief Minister. As I awaited the telling supplementary, I said to Ted, “Wait for it. This will be a trick question. So I had better be on my guard.” So I was on my guard.

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