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Benson-Pope must explain 'no-show'

Judith Collins MP National Party Welfare Spokeswoman

22 February 2006

Benson-Pope must explain 'no-show'

National Party Welfare spokeswoman Judith Collins says David Benson-Pope must try harder to explain his withdrawal from a speaking slot at a conference on child abuse and neglect.

Ms Collins has released the conference agenda today, which clearly shows the Minister was set down to give a speech on the final day of last week's 10th Australasian Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect.

"This Minister's ability to be an effective advocate for neglected and abused children has been severely compromised. Clearly, there are live issues now about whether this man can do his job."

Ms Collins says the late withdrawal from the conference was unusual, given that it was being co-hosted by David Benson Pope's own Ministry of Social Development.

"Did Mr Benson-Pope receive instructions not to speak?

"When was that decision made?

"It's very hard not to conclude that the Minister has been muzzled from speaking publicly on this important area in his portfolio," says Ms Collins.

"If he can't do the job he should resign."

ENDS

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