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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 6 Hansard (24 June) . . Page.. 2601..


Thursday, 24 June 2004

MR SPEAKER (Mr Berry) took the chair at 10.30 am and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Minister for Health

Motion of want of confidence

MR SMYTH (Leader of the Opposition) (10.32): Mr Speaker, I seek leave to move the motion circulated in my name of no confidence in Minister Corbell.

Leave granted.

MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, I move

That the Assembly expresses a lack of confidence in the Minister for Health and Planning for persistently and wilfully misleading the Assembly on a number of issues.

I have moved this motion today because I believe it is time to draw a line in the sand on parliamentary behaviour. We're doing this because we're fed up with the behaviour, particularly the behaviour this week, of this minister that again has been evident in his approach to the debates on RILU and the matter of public importance on the hospital.

I want to say at the outset, Mr Speaker, that the Chief Minister has to leave to go to Tasmania-and we will certainly honour that pair and will offer the Chief Minister the opportunity to speak early, should he wish to do so before he has to leave-to attend the funeral of former Premier Bacon.

Mr Speaker, I have moved this motion today, and it's about character. It's about the character of the minister and it's about his approach to the Assembly. It should be an approach of the highest standard. Indeed, the Chief Minister's own code of conduct says, in regard to conformity with the principles of accountability and financial and collective responsibility:

Being answerable to the Assembly requires Ministers to ensure that they do not wilfully mislead the Assembly in respect of their Ministerial responsibilities. The ultimate sanction for a Minister who so misleads is to resign or be dismissed. Ministers should take reasonable steps to ensure the factual content of statements they make in the Assembly are soundly based and that they correct any inadvertent error at the earliest possible opportunity.

Mr Speaker, I will make three detailed and specific examples of Mr Corbell's deliberate misleads. These examples are crystal clear. I can no longer stand back and allow Mr Corbell to continually and deliberately mislead the Assembly with impunity. In each case the misleads have been brought to his attention and he has refused to correct the record or, in the one case, his clarification was indeed also misleading.

Mr Speaker, this Assembly suffers from a lot of unfair criticism. People call it the sandpit or the toy parliament. The credibility of this parliament is not helped if ministers


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