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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008-2009 Week 1 Hansard (10 December) . . Page.. 219..


MR SESELJA (continuing):

same as Dr Foskey's motion; they are the Greens words. These are the words that they believed in prior to the election. In fact, there was much talk at the last election about openness and transparency, and one of the things that the Greens certainly stood on when they went to the people was the fact that they tried to keep the government accountable; they stood on the fact that they had called for things like the functional review and voted in favour of forcing the government to release the functional review.

We remain committed to it, because we do not buy the government's argument that cabinet-in-confidence must apply; we do not buy the government's argument that they can hide behind cabinet-in-confidence in this case. Previous functional reviews have not been treated in this way. There is no reason why this functional review has to be treated in such a secretive way.

So I would say to other members of the Assembly, particularly the Greens, that I have not heard an explanation. I look forward to hearing an explanation. If they are to not vote for this motion, they will be saying to the people of Canberra, "We were happy to vote for it when we did not think it would get up, when it could not get up. But when we had the chance to get it up, when we had the chance to enforce the accountability on the government, we voted against it; we voted against openness and transparency."

The Costello review was a major issue in the last term of government. It was a major issue on which, time and time again, we heard from the Greens representative in this place that it represented the government's closed approach, their secretive approach. To endorse that in any way by not supporting this motion, I think, will be a major backflip. But it will also send some very mixed messages to the community that the Greens believe that they will vote for it when they cannot get it up but they will not vote for it when they can enforce this transparency and openness on the government.

We are committed to transparency. We spoke at length yesterday about new standards of openness and accountability. This one is a hangover from the days of majority government when they used their majority to prevent scrutiny. They particularly did it in relation to the rationale for the horror budget of 2006. We believe that, with the changed Assembly, there is an opportunity to enforce accountability on this government. We will be supporting this motion. We will support it in its current form, and I would call on all members of the Assembly to support the motion.

MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Minister for Transport, Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Minister for Business and Economic Development, Minister for Indigenous Affairs and Minister for the Arts and Heritage) (3.31): Of course, it is in the interests of the opposition in this instance to seek to subvert the principles of cabinet confidentiality on the whim that they have adopted. I think I can say that particularly because this is an opposition that has accepted there is little or no prospect of it ever forming government and ever having to form a cabinet in relation to which it would expect the long held Westminster conditions and traditions around cabinet confidentially and solidarity to apply to its decision making.

The precedent that the Liberals seek to establish here today is, I believe, an extremely dangerous one, and it is truly disruptive to good government. Today it is the functional review; tomorrow what? Will it be the next issue that happens to take the


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