Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 13 Hansard (5 December) . . Page.. 3951..
MR STEFANIAK: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. Chief Minister, what discussions, if any, have you had with Mr Hargreaves about his poor performance as a minister?
MR STANHOPE: None. We regularly discuss the performance of the opposition. In the context of discussions I have had with Mr Hargreaves about the poor performance, I must say that we regularly discuss the performance of the Leader of the Opposition, and indeed each of the members of the Liberal Party. I do not think that in any of those conversations there has ever been a reference to exalted, good or passingly good performance by any of the members of the Liberal Party.
The discussions I have had with Mr Hargreaves are many and varied. Once again, there is this interesting lack of self-awareness by a leader of the opposition who—we heard and read extensively in the last week—will be challenged before Christmas. We read about this in the Canberra Times regularly—we read about it again in the last week. Indeed, we are aware of the advice that Mr Mulcahy is receiving from his little faction about ensuring that he picks an appropriate time before launching the challenge.
MR SPEAKER: Order! Chief Minister, I hope you have finished about now.
MR SMYTH: My question is to the Chief Minister. Some weeks ago, you intervened in the handling by your Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Mr Hargreaves, of the Tharwa bridge. In intervening, you convened a meeting with the representatives of the heritage council and others to discuss the future of the historic Tharwa bridge. We understand Mr Hargreaves did not attend that meeting.
Yesterday, 442 days after the closure of the bridge, you, Chief Minister, issued a media release stating that the government would finally engage in a process of community consultation for the preservation and restoration of the bridge, potentially with a carrying capacity of 44 tonnes and even to raise the deck height. Why did you intervene in the matter of the Tharwa bridge?
MR STANHOPE: I did not intervene in Mr Hargreaves's ministerial responsibilities in relation to the bridge; I intervened as the minister with responsibility for heritage. My interest in the Tharwa bridge is directly related to my responsibilities as the ACT minister for heritage.
MR SMYTH: Chief Minister, why, then, are you announcing a community consultation on Tharwa bridge that clearly should be a matter for your territory and municipal services minister? Is it that you do not trust Mr Hargreaves's capacity to take carriage of the matter?
MR STANHOPE: My interest in Tharwa bridge is, first and foremost, in an administrative sense, an interest that arises out of my responsibility as minister for heritage. My desire to consult is essentially aimed at ensuring that we fully understand the level of community commitment particularly involved in significant expenditures