Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 14 Hansard (Wednesday, 23 November 2005) . . Page.. 4510 ..
I would be grateful if you would provide me, immediately, all information in your possession, including names and sources of your information in order that I might ensure that it is investigated by the AFP—
and other agencies—
… without further delay.
Chief Minister, why are you personally involving yourself, in a most inappropriate and unprofessional way, when it is the responsibility of police to investigate and test M Omari’s claims, not your responsibility? Why are you politicising this issue further by threatening budget cuts?
MR STANHOPE: It is remarkable, isn’t it, how the attitude, the position or the response varies according to the time, the issue and the politics that can be gleaned? For the last three years, the Liberal Party have been roundly condemning and castigating me for not putting out the fire all by myself—it has been entirely my fault, my responsibility—the fact that the bushfire that occurred in January 2003 is, of course, as we all know, as presented by the Liberal Party, a matter exclusively of my responsibility.
Now we have a situation involving most serious allegations by a Canberran in relation to “extremist” visits to the Canberra mosque at Yarralumla—views that were expressed on Friday of last week, and I confess views that were not brought to my attention until Monday morning. I must say that I did not watch WIN news on Friday night and it is an issue that was not reported by other media over the weekend. I have to concede that it is an issue that was not brought to my attention until Monday morning. It was with significant alarm that I was advised and learnt of the allegations on Monday morning.
After some investigation—what involvement had the police had in this matter; which government agencies had Mr Omari informed of these most alarming allegations—the answer I received on Monday morning was: none. Mr Omari had not contacted the police, Mr Omari had not contacted the office of the Chief Minister or Attorney-General, Mr Omari had not contacted the Attorney-General’s Department, he had not contacted ACT police, he had not contacted the office of the minister for multicultural affairs. In fact, the only person or organisation contacted by Mr Omari in relation to grave allegations of the involvement of extremist Wahabists in the ACT seeking to recruit young Muslim men was WIN television. And that did concern me: that Mr Omari had spoken to one organisation in the ACT around these most alarming allegations that extremist Wahabists were seeking to recruit Muslims for terrorist activity.
Whom did Mr Omari inform of this grave situation? WIN television. He did not inform the Chief Minister of the territory. He did not inform the members of the executive of the multicultural council. He did not inform the Attorney-General. He did not inform ACT Policing. He did not inform the office of the minister for multicultural affairs. He did not inform a single other person. He did not inform the president of the Canberra mosque. He did not inform the president or a member of the executive of any other Muslim organisation in the ACT. He did not inform a single other person of his concerns on the day that he spoke with WIN television.