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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 10 Hansard (Tuesday, 26 August 2008) . . Page.. 3672 ..

Leader of the Opposition to argue that the government has failed to engage in debate on this issue.

Indeed, there was a no-confidence motion regarding the Chief Minister following the coroner’s report and there was a full debate in this place on that matter, which the Chief Minister fronted up to and participated in. What humbug from the Leader of the Opposition to claim tonight that the Chief Minister or the government are not prepared to countenance any debate on this matter.

In fact, it is those opposite who seek to rake over the tragedy of the 2003 fires for their own political advantage, which sees this matter seeking to be visited yet again tonight. They are the ones who are seeking, for their own crass political advantage, to exploit the tragedy that was the 2003 fires. It is as simple as that. We have had these debates. We have had these debates ad nauseam. We have seen numerous motions moved in this place. We have seen a no-confidence motion moved in the Chief Minister. We have seen endless reports.

I appeared before this inquiry as the responsible minister. And that is right. The government sent the responsible minister—shock, horror—to give evidence on this matter. And I spent numerous hours before the committee answering the questions of the committee. So for those opposite to bring forward this trite humbug about a government not prepared to engage in debate really is absurd.

There is a range of important legislation before the Assembly tonight. I would ask why the opposition are not interested in debating amendments that will extend domestic violence protection arrangements to people who are currently excluded from being able to access those. I would ask why the opposition are not willing to debate tonight the legislation that will extend new powers to relatives and friends of people who are injured in things such as car accidents and are unable to give their consent to medical treatment. I would ask why they are not even prepared to debate important reforms that will extend important consumer protections to tenants who live in rented accommodation across the territory as well as clarifying the roles and responsibilities of bodies corporate.

Those are the matters that should be debated this evening, not this crass political opportunism from those opposite who would seek, for their own political ends, to simply exploit the tragedy that was 2003. And let us not forget that. That is what they seek to do this evening. These issues have been investigated ad nauseam. I think the Canberra community have made their judgement one way or another about the role of the government, the role of the emergency services, the role of all those involved in that terrible set of events. And they will make their judgements and they will decide for themselves. There is an election in October and they will be the final arbiters on that particular matter.

But for those opposite to seek to exploit it for their own crass political ends when there are significant and important reforms on the table tonight that need to be debated, that should be debated, shows just what priorities those opposite have.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (8.48): Mr Corbell has ranked in importance the bills before us this evening. Sadly, he fails to remember that he is the one that put off the

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