Page 4731 - Week 11 - Thursday, 20 October 2011

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Thursday, 20 October 2011

MR SPEAKER (Mr Rattenbury) took the chair at 2 pm and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Ministerial arrangements

MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Minister for Health and Minister for Industrial Relations): For the information of members, Minister Burch is interstate on ministerial business during this question time. I am happy to take questions that would have been directed to her for her portfolios.

Questions without notice

Children and young people—care and protection

MR SESELJA: My question is to the Chief Minister. On 20 May 2009 Mr Stanhope said this during an estimates hearing:

The public service is not an entity of its own, you know. It has a head, and the head is the government. The head is the head of the government, the Chief Minister.

Recently we have seen the failure of child protection services, with the law being broken 24 times, resulting in children being traumatised. In response, you stated in question time yesterday:

This is a community responsibility.

Minister, why are you trying to blame the community for your government breaking the law, resulting in children being traumatised?

MS GALLAGHER: I am not. My comments yesterday were that child protection is a community responsibility, and it is. I would be surprised if anyone in this place would argue that that was not the case. Indeed, I see that my comments have been endorsed by Cheryl Vardon, who did the Vardon report, who has also reminded us all that child protection is a community responsibility. We all have responsibilities. Indeed, we all have responsibilities under the Children and Young People Act. That is not to say that the government does not accept the responsibility of ensuring that our child protection system is as good as it can be, and I have said that a number of times in this place.

MR SPEAKER: Supplementary, Mr Seselja.

MR SESELJA: Minister, isn’t it true, as Mr Stanhope said, that when the directorate acts it acts not on its own behalf but on behalf of the minister and the cabinet?

MS GALLAGHER: That is right. I support the comments made by the former Chief Minister. The government is taking responsibility. We have already outlined that. I am sure you have got a killer blow yet to come, because I can see how excited you are at my answer there.

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