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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 6 Hansard (25 June) . . Page.. 1869..


Wednesday, 25 June 2008

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.

Chief Minister

Motion of no confidence

MR SESELJA (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (10.32): I move:

That this Assembly no longer has confidence in the Chief Minister due to his:

(1) repeatedly giving inconsistent testimony and testimony that is inconsistent with the written record of events relating to the data centre and gas fired power plant at Tuggeranong and, therefore, misleading the Estimates Committee and consequently the Assembly;

(2) mismanaging the process associated with the data centre and gas fired power plant at Tuggeranong, jeopardising an important project for the Australian Capital Territory and, as a consequence, costing the Territory around $1 billion in investment;

(3) selectively releasing materials to the media which were withheld from the Assembly and withholding the substantial part of the records, showing contempt for the people and Parliament of the Australian Capital Territory; and

(4) failing to properly consider the impact on residents of the data centre and gas fired power plant, and failing to adequately notify or consult with residents, which jeopardised the entire project.

Mr Speaker, this is the story of a government that has lost its way—a government that was given an opportunity to bring a large project to the territory which would provide jobs, economic diversification and a significant source of backup power for Canberra, and it botched it. From day one, it completely and utterly mishandled it. This was compounded when, once the mishandling was exposed, the misleads, the misdirections and personal attacks on critics of the government and sections of the media began. Make no mistake: the Chief Minister and his department were involved in this process throughout. But when things got uncomfortable, when he realised that this was hurting the government politically, he sought to distance himself from the process.

All that this government had to do was to find an appropriate site for the development; that is all. Now, the ACT is not short of land. In fact, ACTPLA is on record as saying there is an abundance of sites. It should have been a simple matter to provide options. However, this government could not even do that. From day one, it limited the selection of sites until an inappropriate one was the only choice.

When called upon to explain his mishandling, the Chief Minister responded with a series of increasingly contradictory comments, each and every one of which has been


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