Ms O'CONNOR question to MINISTER for STATE DEVELOPMENT, CONSTRUCTION and HOUSING, Mr FERGUSON
Mr Speaker, if you will excuse me keeping my mask on; there are people in the Chamber who are unmasked and I note they are not sitting members.
Minister, you were clearly heard groaning whilst sitting there, while the words of victim/survivor Tiffany Skeggs were read into the House. We have listened to the audio repeatedly and we can hear both yourself and the Attorney-General, Ms Archer, who was given the opportunity to apologise and did not have the grace to personally do so. The Premier and minister Jaensch had the decency to apologise to Ms Skeggs, but neither of you have. You are the former minister for Health, the minister while Griffin was at the Launceston General Hospital. Why have you not sought forgiveness for your trespasses and apologised to Ms Skeggs for the offence and pain caused by your actions? What is so hard about saying sorry?
Mr Speaker, I have answered the question earlier. Ms O'Connor has reframed the same question.
Ms O'Connor - No.
Mr FERGUSON - It is true that I was the minister responsible for the health system for some of the time of Griffin's offending. I will take this opportunity today to say what I will always say, which is the truth: none of those accusations or allegations ever came to my notice. I wish that they had, because had they, I would have immediately made a report to the police and done everything within my power to see that behaviour apprehended and justice provided to anybody who was hurt during that appalling period of time.
I feel it is regrettable that Ms O'Connor has framed her question in that way because, very clearly, the late Mr Griffin had many years of offending against young people and children in my local community. I am upset and devastated by that, as I believe is every member of this House.
I make that point, because clearly Ms O'Connor has tried to zero in on that and I want to detach myself from anything to do with that individual, Mr Griffin, and the vile nature of his perpetration of wicked crimes against children.
I strongly support the commission of inquiry the Premier has initiated, and I hope that might be something that would unite this House.