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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 7 Hansard (15 August) . . Page.. 2115..


MR STANHOPE (continuing):

course. One of the great ironies of this debate is that the Liberal Party has a closed conference. It has annual conferences too. It has its internal policy-making mechanisms and pretends to a form of democracy, but is not prepared to display it to the world.

I think it was at last year's conference that Bill Stefaniak, the Leader of the Opposition, voted to reintroduce capital punishment into the territory, as did others of his colleagues. We believe Mr Pratt voted for the reintroduction but this was not displayed to the world at large because the conference was closed. It is interesting for us to go back to the parallels that can be drawn. That is the private position of members of the Liberal Party in relation to capital punishment, but when a motion is moved to displace and reaffirm the Assembly's commitment to its opposition all of a sudden it is politically not particularly desirable for Mr Stefaniak and others to go on the public record in relation to capital punishment.

So here we have this interesting juxtaposition. The Liberal Party has closed conferences. In its internal policy making, some young Liberal, some tearaway, says, "Would not it be great to have a gallows out at Alexander Maconochie Centre?"Bill Stefaniak, Mr Law and Order, says, "Yes; I am always a supporter of capital punishment,"and he spoke for it at his party conference. Of course, it was not reported by the media because they were not allowed anywhere near it. But this is an interesting juxtaposition, the secret position of the members of the Liberal Party, those who voted for the reintroduction of capital punishment into the territory. It is a fact that the Leader of the Opposition in this place at his annual party conference supported the reintroduction of capital punishment. He wants a gallows down at the Alexander Maconochie Centre.

When the motion was moved in this place, did Mr Stefaniak repeat his closed-door Liberal Party conference position on capital punishment? Did Mr Pratt maintain his public position in relation to capital punishment? No, they did not-hypocrisy, humbug. These are internal party issues. They are dealt with through our party in an open and democratic way. The Liberal Party, of course, closes its conference. No media are allowed anywhere near it; not even told that it is on. At different times little titbits leak out from those members, backstabbing their colleagues to try to get rid of them.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (11.41): This is an important motion. It is not about education; it is about integrity, it is about honesty. It is about whether one can believe cabinet ministers when they say anything in this place or out in the community. It is interesting that the Chief Minister came scurrying down here when he was accused of not even having the bottle to sit here and support his members. His foray in support of his members was led by a junior minister who is for the most part known for his comic repartee rather than oratory.

But this is a serious motion. Unlike Mr Stanhope's and Dr Foskey's claims, this is not about education. We will have our time to talk about education, but today we are talking about integrity and honesty in the Labor Party. My colleagues Mr Stefaniak and Mr Mulcahy have spoken about the historic precedents and the recent precedents where people who cannot agree with their colleagues resign. We have seen it as recently as last week: people who hold office, who cannot agree with their colleagues and feel so compelled to disagree that they have to say it publicly, have the honesty and the integrity to resign. Mr Vaile used the terms "honour"and "integrity". You cannot use those words


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