Page 3474 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 21 September 2005

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I should not take gratuitously and with glee Mrs Dunne’s discomfiture in relation to this, but I just cannot help myself. I do. It highlights again and again the absurdity of the position the Liberal Party took to the last election, and that Mrs Dunne has sought, against all odds, all logic and all commonsense, to maintain—a sense that we are going to build that dam no matter what; whether or not we need it, we are going to build it because we said we would and it is too embarrassing to have to admit we made a most enormous mistake in the position that we took on this issue.

MR SPEAKER: The minister’s time has expired.

Mr Stanhope: I ask that all further questions be placed on the notice paper.

Supplementary answers to questions without notice

Disaster planning

MR HARGREAVES: Yesterday, in answer to a question relating to the bomb scare across the road, I said that I would seek additional information. I have additional information that I would like to advise the Assembly of in order to enhance the question from Mr Pratt today.

At 2.30 pm on Wednesday, 7 September 2005, police received a report of a threatening phone call made to the office of the ACT Chief Minister. The caller requested the address of the ACT Legislative Assembly so that he could deliver a bomb. He did not know where we were. At 5.38 pm on the same day, police communications received a report of an unattended backpack located outside the ACT government shopfront on London Circuit in the city. This area is within 60 metres of the ACT Legislative Assembly. Police responded to the report of a suspicious backpack, with the knowledge in mind of the earlier threat relating to the ACT Legislative Assembly.

In accordance with AFP/ACT Policing policy, procedures and practice, the area was isolated, cordoned off and contained to reduce the risk to members of the public. A general duties patrol from city station attended, followed by the AFP/ACT Policing specialist response and security bomb response team which was called in to assess the backpack.

Retail trading in the vicinity had ceased for the day and owners and operators of businesses were in the processes of securing their premises. In the interest of public safety, responding police advised ACTION bus services and Aerial Taxi Cabs Coop to avoid the area. Responding police also spoke to the occupiers of office blocks on the northern aspect of London Circuit adjoining the ACT government shopfront and advised them of the incident. Based on this advice, self-evacuation procedures were implemented.

Police observed occupants of the ACT Legislative Assembly building watching events from the ground floor of the building, behind large panels of glass. As a precautionary measure, police attended the Legislative Assembly and spoke to security personnel located in the main foyer. Security personnel were then asked to ensure that the ground floor on the northern aspect was clear of occupants and offered to assist in this process.

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