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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 10 Hansard (Wednesday, 16 September 2015) . . Page.. 3141 ..

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (5.52): The questions Mr Rattenbury posed are good questions, but we will never know the answers. We will never know whether they were answered, and we will never know whether the right conclusions were come to because this is all being conducted behind a veil of secrecy. The reason apparently for the secrecy is to protect the wellbeing of the child and the family, and I think we all agree on that.

The fact that over the last five months the name of the school and the family of the child has not been made public shows that everyone understands how important it is that we get this right. But we will never know. We will never know because the minister will not tell us. We will never know because the government will not tell us, and we will never know because Mr Rattenbury—who seems to have walked away from the principles the Greens apparently used to hold so dearly of transparency and good governance—will not let anyone know.

The minister can assert all is well, it has all been fixed, and this rogue principal apparently stalked the corridors of a school somewhere in Canberra and did all these things on their own. But, again, we will never know. This is the place of accountability where ministers explain the actions of their directorates. And this minister simply refuses to do so.

This is the minister who was disingenuous right from the start. When you see the picture of the construction, it is a cage—four walls and a roof with a lock on it. It is a cage. An “inappropriate structure”! This is why you cannot believe anything this minister says. The minister—with the cage, who retweeted a message, who said there were no problems with the culture at the CIT, the pokies debacle in January, the teacher EBA negotiations, difficulties in the Ambulance Service, difficulties in the Fire and Rescue Service, Nazi strippers at a family event, and the dreadful arts framework! If you judge people on the facts in the arena, then the minister cannot be trusted with this portfolio and we cannot trust the answers she provides because, in the main, they are not answers.

Right from the start, it was disingenuous. A cage is a cage. Indeed, the minister said, “I took immediate action.” She was told on 27 March and we were told the rest of the community was told on 1 April. So what immediate action did she take four or five days later? In the absence of the report, in the absence of the terms of reference, in the absence of the document, it is hard to judge whether justice has been done to the poor principal—the lone figure of the principal who is responsible for all of this—and whether the right answer has been given. We cannot know. The disrespect of the parliament, and the disrespect through the parliament of the people of the ACT, on this issue is shocking.

The government went to great lengths to get an independent reviewer for capital metro. They went to South Australia and got Mr Derek Scrafton. Why is it on a financial and capital works issue you can have an independent reviewer, you know his name and you can see the reports but on an issue of social welfare and education there is an entirely different policy? “We’ll deal with this. Trust us.” If the minister was even half competent you might trust her on it. But the litany of events that have been left in the wake of this minister’s progress through her portfolio does not leave anyone with the belief she is conducting this affair properly.

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