Page 3351 - Week 11 - Tuesday, 20 September 2005

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bill will go to the heart of our community and, gosh, it will hit people’s human rights—have we thought about that? I said in this place when the Chief Minister tabled his Human Rights Act that he would open a can of worms. So let us wait and see what happens there. I am sure that people will really enjoy legislation that will add more imposts to their lives! The bill will be passed, notwithstanding the support of the Greens. However, I suggest that the government scrap the bill that it wants to bolt onto the original legislation and go back to the drawing board.

Debate interrupted in accordance with standing order 74 and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for a later hour.

Sitting suspended from 12.31 to 2.30 pm

Ministerial arrangements

MR STANHOPE: Mr Speaker, for the information of members, my colleague the minister for education is not available today or this week as a result of personal issues that affect her. I am available to take questions in relation to Ms Gallagher’s responsibilities as minister for education, and my colleague Mr Corbell is available to take questions in relation to children, youth and family services, industrial relations, and women.

Questions without notice

Disaster planning

MR SMYTH: My question is to the Chief Minister. On 25 August, in response to a question without notice about evacuation plans, you stated that there is:

… the suggestion that because there is no concrete document or piece of paper that is the plan, there is no plan.

We have a detailed plan for what will occur in the event of an emergency.

Regardless of whether or not these plans are committed to paper, are you satisfied that the incident management and evacuation plans that your government now has in place are sufficient to deal with any potential emergency or terrorist threats in the city, Belconnen, Tuggeranong or other town centre precincts?

MR STANHOPE: I thank the Leader of the Opposition for the question. There is no more important question than that involving our preparations and the state of our preparedness to deal with disasters, whether they be natural ones or those issues we potentially face as a result of terrorism and terrorist activity around the world.

It is impossible for me to say, as invited to by the Leader of the Opposition, that we have in place arrangements that would allow us to deal with every conceivable or imaginable terrorist scenario. There are potential scenarios about which no government anywhere in the world could, in some circumstances, say that it has arrangements in place for or has the capacity to respond to. One could imagine a terrorist attack of an order that, simply, it would not be possible, in terms of simple resources, manpower or other physical capacity, to respond to.

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