Page 4741 - Week 11 - Thursday, 20 October 2011

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MS GALLAGHER: It is my responsibility. I am the Chief Minister—that is, the first minister. I have responsibilities across government. It is my job to do this. I am not going to stand back passively where I see the need to express a view and get involved. That is the way I do my work. It is the way I will continue to do my work. It is what the community expects of me.

Children and young people—care and protection

MR HANSON: My question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, yesterday you said in relation to your government breaking the law in care and protection:

I have clearly said the government takes responsibility.

Chief Minister, how exactly have you taken responsibility? What does taking responsibility mean to you and your government?

MS GALLAGHER: I have answered this question previously. The responsibility for the government is to continue the continuous improvement work in care and protection and to ensure that we provide the best possible care and protection to children and their families in the ACT. That is the responsibility. It is a responsibility that sits with all of us in this place, but there are additional responsibilities of the government. The minister is fulfilling those, and the government will continue to progress areas in this very, very difficult and complex area of government service delivery.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary from Mr Hanson.

MR HANSON: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, how can you possibly take responsibility and still refuse to apologise to the children and families affected by your government’s breaking of the law?

MS GALLAGHER: Yesterday in this place again I indicated that I was extremely regretful for any distress that is provided to children or their families if the service from the public service has not been of the standard that we would all expect. However, on the issue that Mr Hanson talks about, about 24 breaches of the law, we are taking further advice on that.

Mr Smyth: What was wrong with the first lot of advice?

MS GALLAGHER: We are taking further advice—because, Mr Smyth, it seems unusual to me and difficult for me to understand that there are no opportunities for the director-general to place children in emergency care if there are no opportunities to do that within organisations that are legal entities. I have asked a further question about that. That is the issue that is being—

Opposition members interjecting—

MR SPEAKER: Order, members!

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