Page 3795 - Week 10 - Thursday, 27 August 2009

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Ms Gallagher: We know you’re against it. That’s where this all starts from. You don’t want Aboriginal people to have access to a healthy rehabilitation facility.

MR HANSON: There are avenues for me to pursue this matter, including a substantive motion in the Assembly and through the Ombudsman. I think that it is appropriate in the first instance that the minister review her actions and the actions of the departmental officials. Without doubt, serious mistakes have been made. I am willing to give the minister the opportunity to address the issues openly and fix the problems. I believe that she should take responsibility. I believe that a correction of the record and a clarifying statement are appropriate. I think that, given what has transpired, this is actually a very reasonable position for me to adopt. The Minister for Health, Ms Gallagher, now has an opportunity to clear up this mess and move forward, and I encourage her to do so.

In closing, there has also been an attempt by members opposite in this chamber and the minister through a press release to characterise my actions falsely as a slight on the public service. This has been a disingenuous attack which was sought to deflect attention from the minister’s mistake. Indeed, she is now trying to allege, in her interjections, that I am opposed to the bush healing farm. Let me state for the record that my issues have always been addressed to the minister and it was never my intent to come into conflict with Mr Cormack. It is right and proper for the opposition to engage ministers and for ministers to respond and to take responsibility. Indeed, that has been my argument from the beginning, and that is why my press release was addressed to the minister. It was Mr Cormack who decided to enter the fray, and I regret that greatly.

I believe in the political independence of the public service, as do its members. I will continue to ensure, as will the fellow members of the opposition, that the government does not use the public service inappropriately. My message to the public servants of the ACT is that the opposition will support you in upholding the high standards which you have set and hold dear. We respect the great work you are doing, and we will honour your service to the ACT.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Dangerous Goods (Road Transport) Bill 2009

Mr Stanhope, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Minister for Transport, Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Minister for Business and Economic Development, Minister for Indigenous Affairs and Minister for the Arts and Heritage) (10.59): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

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