Page 3719 - Week 10 - Tuesday, 26 August 2008

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He went on further, on the question of leadership, responding to a question about ministerial oversight and senior management in emergency services:

It gets down to one simple thing, Mr Pratt, leadership. We have got to have leadership from the top down. We have got to eliminate some of the levels in between. It gets down to one thing: just plain leadership.

He was referring to the bureaucracy and the tangled web of the chain of command. He went on:

I do not think the minister is listening to anything we are saying really, honestly. Certainly the commissioner is not listening; the deputy commissioner is, but he is lower down the food chain.

He went on:

I would challenge the minister and the Chief Minister to come out and show me how better prepared we are.

That is just a one sample of, I would suggest to you, Mr Speaker, about 26 substantive issues that have not been covered in this report.

As to the government’s response to this report, today we have seen the cowardly response by Mr Corbell and by the Chief Minister in relation to debating the substantive issues in this report. We saw a Chief Minister who refused to come back and answer in the inquiry a range of questions asked—for example, the one that I have just outlined—which the Chief Minister should have answered. When Mr Corbell was asked to respond to matters dealing with the very interesting McGuffog report, he would not allow Mr McGuffog to speak and there was no indication about detailing other fundamentally important reports which go to the heart of describing the performance issues of the emergency services.

What we have seen from go to whoa is a gutless government, a Chief Minister too frightened to appear, a minister too frightened to give evidence and a minister here today who lamely stood up, shaking in his boots, and collapsed the debate on the presentation of the report. This government should be ashamed of its attitude on this matter. We are talking about fundamental issues which go to the heart of the protection of our community and safety management matters. This government does not give a toss about these duty of care matters. (Time expired.)

Chief Minister—attendance at bushfire inquiry

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (11.44): It is curious that, of all those that were in charge on 18 January 2003, there is only one left, and that person is the Chief Minister. When the opportunity came for him to speak to or defend or explain what occurred on 18 January 2003, he squibbed it. The opportunity was there to quite clearly put on the record and explain what had happened and, indeed, what had happened since in his government, and he squibbed it.

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