JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Assembly gone soft: Carnell

Date

Peter Jean, Christopher Knaus

Kate Carnell.

Kate Carnell. Photo: Karleen Minney

The last ACT chief minister to be forced from office by a motion of no-confidence wants to know why Katy Gallagher is being treated more lightly by the current Legislative Assembly.

Labor and the Greens will use their combined numbers in the Assembly today to defeat an attempt by the Liberals to bring a motion of no-confidence against Chief Minister Ms Gallagher over her handling of the health portfolio.

Back in 2000, then Liberal chief minister Kate Carnell resigned after it was clear a majority of Assembly members would support a no-confidence motion over breaches of the Financial Management Act related to the Bruce Stadium redevelopment.

Ms Carnell, who is now the chief executive of Beyondblue, said yesterday she had been brought down due to ''victimless'' errors that a public servant had made without her knowledge or consent.

''Back then Labor and the crossbenches perceived clearly that ministerial responsibility meant that a minister had to be responsible for things that happened within their portfolio responsibility, whether or not they were personally involved or knew about it,'' she told The Canberra Times.

One of the issues raised in the Liberals' no-confidence motion against Ms Gallagher is the Canberra Hospital emergency department data-tampering affair.

Ms Gallagher was cleared of any involvement in the tampering, and former hospital executive Kate Jackson took responsibility for most of the changes made to patient waiting time records.

Ms Carnell said in her own case she had had no knowledge of the Financial Management Act breaches but had still had to take ministerial responsibility for them.

''The view of the Assembly at the time was that there was no indication that I knew about it - in fact I think everyone accepted I didn't - but it was contrary to the Financial Management Act and I was the responsible minister. It's that simple.

''Then the Labor Party and the crossbenches perceived that ministerial responsibility clearly meant that the minister responsible should take the fall.''

Ms Carnell said she had taken ministerial responsibility for what had occurred but argued at the time that it should not be a hanging offence.

She said she would be very interested to know why the Assembly's interpretation of ministerial responsibility was now ''really different''.

Ms Carnell said it was a matter for the current Assembly to decide whether it had confidence in Ms Gallagher to remain Chief Minister.

Ms Gallagher's office last night declined to comment on Ms Carnell's remarks.

ACT Greens Leader Meredith Hunter said she was not in the Assembly in 2000 but was confident Ms Gallagher had no case to answer.

''We're looking at what's presented before us at this time and part of that is an Auditor-General's report which clears the Chief Minister of any wrongdoing,'' Ms Hunter said.

Ms Gallagher yesterday visited the Canberra Hospital to officially launch new cancer treatment equipment as some patients were being moved into the new Centenary Hospital for Women and Children. She said there were still pressures in some areas of the health system but she had helped deliver many improvements as minister. ''I know my record in health will stay true. In six years we've delivered a lot,'' she said.

Police confirmed yesterday they were investigating the data tampering affair, and were currently assessing whether an offence had been committed. The matter was referred to police on July 4 by the ACT Health Directorate.

14 comments

  • Well, with the ACT Greens in charge what do you expect? Isn't the Ombudsman investigating the Office of the Speaker?

    Commenter
    Economist
    Date and time
    August 22, 2012, 9:22AM
    • Here, here,
      I could not agree with you more. Bring on October 20 and lets get on with business.

      Vote anyway but Green, they have had their day.

      Commenter
      Cap thinker
      Location
      Red Hill
      Date and time
      August 22, 2012, 10:07AM
    • It was Kate Carnell who brought in the Public Interest disclosure Bill 23 Feb 1994. She defined 'corrupt conduct under s 4' & made reference to it under the 1994 Public Sector Management Act 1994 s 9q.
      Ms Gallagher, Mr Corbell & the ACT Workcover failed to ensure ALL ACT public servants & the Chief Ministers bullies at Comcare understood and or complied with this legislation.
      From my experience, Kate C’s PID Act 1994 has been intentional ignored by senior bureaucrats & ACT Workcover itself & yes, guess who, the Ombudsmans Office. I have seen Ombudspersons turn whistleblowers away despite obvious public interest disclosures & the threat of unlawful reprisals, provide false & misleading statements, including the covering up of the rape & kidnapping of a 15year old child by a known drug dealer, on bail at the time, & a complete refusal of the AFP to investigate those statutory offences & later breaches of protection orders for the child & comply with Kate C PID Act 1994. The Ombudsman office just rubber stamped the AFP’s internal investigation of themselves, breaching the PID ACT 1994.
      From my experience, the Legal profession on mass have failed to support public interest disclosers (whistleblowers) in the ACT, including one now in a Judicial position, due to this Labor Government. This conduct (failure to support whistleblowers & act in the public interest) will not change with a new PID Act alone.
      Kate should be appalled at what has been covered up, despite her PID ACT 1994 & section 9q of the Public Sector Management ACT 1994 especially by Ms Gallagher & this government and the psychological/physiological injuries caused.
      The new PID Bill 2012 is to be debated tomorrow. After today’s no confidence fiasco there will be no debate the Greens will roll over.

      Commenter
      fairgo4all
      Date and time
      August 22, 2012, 2:19PM
    • Considering that since a very successful career Carnell has enjoyed since leaving politics, she's only playing to type representing the interests of big business over that of the public in encouraging the LA to pass this motion.

      @Cap thinker - More and more people are fed up with the main parties in this country offering almost identical policies and not much else and the Greens are filling the gap by offering genuine alternatives. Unless you're happy with the same-old/ same-old on offer from the usual suspects you should look for alternatives too.

      Commenter
      zakalwe
      Location
      Reid
      Date and time
      August 22, 2012, 3:28PM
  • Yes Ms Carnell did go for less,but wheather you liked her politics or not,she had Canberra in her best intrests.When I first came to Canberra WIN news was a joke, Still is for that matter but in a sence it was 30 mins with Ms Carnell..and at COAG she was there sitting next to Howard,when he walked out of a meeting,she was at his side,she gave Canberra a profile,Not like the last 2 Labor Chief Ministers,who has given Canberra no profile,and has been held together with a lame Green Coalition,once I remember Ministial responsibility clearly meant responsibility except if you have Greens on board,or you are Katy Gallagher.Katy you should resign if you have any moral fibre at all.People wont forget,resign now,and you may save your Government.

    Commenter
    Martin says
    Location
    Canberra
    Date and time
    August 22, 2012, 10:11AM
    • Lets look what Carnell made possible in Canberra and was sacked for. Canberra stadium which has served us well and been a credit to Canberra for years.
      Now look what the greens=labor have given us. A luxury gaol for those that do the wrong thing. A crumbling medical system. Eyesore so called sustainable living (look at Gungahlin rows and rows of identical units and townhouses and backyardless houses, squashed in together, future slums.)

      Thanks for nothing labor/greens

      Commenter
      Peter
      Location
      Canberra
      Date and time
      August 22, 2012, 11:39AM
  • I think that the longer the greens hold joint government both Federally and locally they just prove how really dangerous they are. They are not just about the environment, they are about every nutjob minority issue no matter what the consequences to broader society.
    Too many naive people vote green without realising the damage they are doing to our country. It won't be until the economy crumbles and jobs go that people will wake up.
    Look at the major green voters, always inner city areas like Sydney and Melbourne, and now Canberra. Latte sipping wanna be hippies who have never left the comfort of an air conditioned office and done a real days work in their life!

    Commenter
    Peter
    Location
    Canberra
    Date and time
    August 22, 2012, 11:35AM
    • Correction:
      Latte sipping wanna be hippies who have never left the comfort of an air conditioned [government] office and done a real days work in their life!

      Commenter
      Economist
      Date and time
      August 22, 2012, 11:41AM
    • OMG - Peter - have you thought of running for Chief Minister? you should, I will be your campaign manager.

      Commenter
      westy
      Location
      canberra
      Date and time
      August 22, 2012, 12:58PM
    • "...They are not just about the environment, they are about every nutjob minority issue no matter what the consequences to broader society. Too many naive people vote green without realising the damage they are doing to our country..."

      How does this bitter and inaccurate junk get published? Scare stories like this are made-up gibberish, designed to scare voters into only voting for the two main parties. With Liberals and Labor both moving further and further to the right, The Greens are the only party offering reasonable policies designed to benefit everyone, not just vested interests.

      Commenter
      zakalwe
      Location
      Reid
      Date and time
      August 22, 2012, 3:35PM

More comments

Comments are now closed

Related Coverage

Featured advertisers

Special offers

Credit card, savings and loan rates by Mozo