Page 4581 - Week 14 - Thursday, 24 November 2005
We have had a detailed inquiry, through McLeod; we have had a detailed inquiry through the COAG process; and the coronial inquest has been running now for two years and is about to report. As Mr Quinlan has time and time again said in relation to this weekly attack on me and on the government in relation to the fire and our response to the fire, the opposition is, in the most tawdry, pathetic and offensive way, seeking essentially to continue to agitate the grief and loss that a small number of people continue to feel. The extent to which each of you seeks to take advantage from the loss, the pain and the suffering of others is quite despicable.
You are doing it here again today. You misread the situation. You confect this widespread disaffection or dissatisfaction with the government’s response to the fire. Mr Quinlan—and I know he has it in his folder here; and I draw on the attitude and the information that he has provided previously in relation to this issue—has said that Mr Pratt, Mrs Burke, Mr Seselja, Mr Smyth and the others will stand up here and say, “People come to us constantly, all the time, expressing their dissatisfaction with the government’s attitude and the government’s response and the attitude which the Chief Minister has presented in relation to the coronial inquest.”
Mr Quinlan, uncomfortably, then refers to the electoral returns at the last election in the suburbs most dramatically affected by the fire. What does Mr Quinlan reveal? In the suburbs most affected by the fire, Chapman and Duffy, what happened to the Labor Party’s vote between 2001 and 2004, in the period in which the fire occurred and the government responded and during which I—
Mr Pratt: That’s a pretty pathetic piece of spin.
MR SPEAKER: Order, Mr Pratt!
MR STANHOPE: Mr Pratt thinks it is pathetic. What happened in Chapman, the suburb dramatically affected by the fire, where there was significant damage and enormous trauma? The number of people who voted Labor in Chapman from before the fire until after the fire grew by 9.3 per cent. I wonder why that is. That is a massive swing. Between 2001 and 2004 the government’s vote in Chapman grew by 9.3 per cent.
What happened in Duffy?
Mr Pratt: But why did you fail on 17 January?
MR SPEAKER: Order, Mr Pratt! I have called you to order several times. I warn you.
MR STANHOPE: What happened in Duffy, the suburb at the fire front that bore the brunt of the fire? In the context of the attack, which we just have witnessed from Mr Pratt and others, and in the context of the attacks on me—my outrageous behaviour, my interference and my refusal to get to the truth and the people of Chapman and Duffy would expect the government to respond appropriately—would they express concerns if they thought I was acting inappropriately and that I was seeking to disguise the truth?
Let us go through those numbers again: 2001 election, fire, McLeod report, COAG report, coronial inquest and, goodness me, our vote increases by 9.3 per cent in