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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 4 Hansard (2 May) . . Page.. 835..


MR STANHOPE (continuing):

ministry of this quality that is not a particularly significant issue. Adding to the quality of the ministry and its capacity to get across a brief is the fact that we know what is the quality of the opposition. So, in the context of any concerns I might have had about ministers getting on top of a brief or across a new portfolio area, I did have in mind, of course, the lack of capacity within the opposition, not that we are complacent.

We are out there with our minds firmly set on meeting the needs and continuing to meet the needs of this community and to respond to the faith which this community has vested in us, particularly through the last election when you were, as I am sure you reflect on it every day, so resoundingly trounced. It is an issue, of course, and it is a problem for the people of Canberra that the ACT does not have a respected or legitimate opposition. You are regarded broadly and generally as a rabble and as a joke, and you are, of course. I do not wish to be personal about it but, as to suggestions or questions to me about whether I was concerned about my capacity or that of my ministers to get across a new brief, some comfort was gained in that assessment as a result of knowing just how bad you are.

Cabinet solidarity

MR SESELJA: My question is to the Chief Minister. Your colleague, Mr Hargreaves, criticised Mr Corbell's compliance with cabinet solidarity in the Canberra Times of 13 April. I quote:

His expression of disloyalty to the Chief Minister in recent times is unforgivable. I am seriously disappointed that the hitherto strong Cabinet solidarity ... has been abused. I will not stand by and be silent when the integrity and leadership of Jon Stanhope is in question.

Why did you not demand Mr Corbell's resignation for abusing cabinet solidarity and bringing your leadership and integrity into question?

MR STANHOPE: Once again, these questions are based on a false premise, assertion or allegation that simply is not true. It is a response that ministers give in this place regularly and repeatedly. A question that contains a false assertion is, essentially, incapable of a response. Then again, the response sits there.

I have not demanded the resignation of any minister. Certainly there has been some public airing of issues by the government in recent times that might have been better aired within the party room. That is an issue that besets all political parties from time to time.

We on this side have taken great amusement at the public imaginations of you lot over the last five years. I am sure we will see a little more of that over the next 18 months. There is still an open book within the Labor caucus on when Mr Mulcahy will make his move on Mr Stefaniak. We all know it is coming. There was a discussion in caucus today that the move would be launched before September.

Mr Pratt: Jon, are you weak in the knees?

MR SPEAKER: Mr Pratt, do you want to get to ask your question.


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