Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 10 Hansard (26 August) . . Page.. 3670..
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
MR SESELJA (Molonglo) (8.37): I move:
That so much of the standing orders be suspended as would prevent the order of the day, Assembly business, relating to Report 8 of the Standing Committee on Legal Affairs, being called on forthwith.
The reason we have had to move for the suspension of standing orders is that this government is, frankly, too gutless to debate this important report that it has pushed back and pushed back and found ways not to debate tonight, because of the embarrassment that it causes it. We know why it causes it significant embarrassment to debate this report tonight. We know why it wanted it pushed back to this evening in the first place and then pushed back altogether, and that is because it is a damning report.
If you look at the entirety of the procedures here, with the report and the dissenting report, this is an embarrassment to Jon Stanhope and it is an embarrassment to the way he has handled bushfire management going right back, of course, to January 2003. This is a Chief Minister who said, when the coroner had a damning report on his behaviour, "These are political findings,"and he looked forward to debating them in the political sphere, as did his Attorney-General. When he had the opportunity to do that, he ran. He had the opportunity to come and face up to it, to face up to the committee and put his side of the story of what happened on 18 January.
It is all well and good to fire pot-shots at judicial officers; it is all well and good from the chamber to attack the coroner—
Mr Corbell: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: the question is that standing orders be suspended. This is not a substantive debate on the conduct or otherwise of the Chief Minister.
MR SPEAKER: Tie it into the debate, please.
MR SESELJA: I will not enter into the debate. The reason we have to bring on this suspension is that this government is ducking this issue, as it has been throughout the process. As I alluded to, the Chief Minister was too gutless to front the committee and now he is too gutless to have the debate about his performance and about the performance of his government going right back to before the 18 January 2003