Page 3830 - Week 11 - Thursday, 24 November 2022

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I want to start by saying that this is not an anti-tram motion.

Mr Steel interjecting

MR PARTON: The minister can laugh all he likes. If the minister believes that someone calling for the cost of a project is anti the project, I would say that he has no faith in that project. This is not an anti-tram motion. It has been portrayed in some circles as an anti-tram motion; it is not. We are debating the largest single infrastructure program in the history of self-government. If it is somehow deemed that it is not acceptable for elected members of this place to ask questions about exactly how $3 billion of taxpayers’ money is being spent, I would say that there is something terribly wrong.

I would note, straight off the bat, that the “calls on” in this motion actually mirror similar requests made publicly by Greens members in this place, in hearings and in public forums. This motion is not anti-light rail; it just calls for clarity on the way that our money is being spent. If that is not something which is acceptable in here, I would think that that in itself is unacceptable.

We are elected to this place to serve the people of our electorate. First and foremost, that is why we are here. We are here to represent those people, to ask questions on their behalf and to bring about outcomes for those people. I have knocked on a lot of doors during this term, and I have fielded so many questions about the tram project. Two of the questions that I get the most are: “Do you know when the tram is getting to Woden?” and “How much will it cost for the tram to get to Woden?” They are not my questions; they are questions that come from the people of Brindabella. I respond by saying, “I really don’t know.” “Why don’t you know? You’re the transport spokesperson.” I say, “I ask; I ask all the time, but they just won’t tell me.”

Today I stand here on behalf of the many hundreds of constituents who have asked me to hold the government to account and to find out the answer to those two key questions: what is it going to cost to get the tram to Woden, and when will it get there? Mr Steel will go on a rant, as Mr Steel does. He will suggest that somehow this is a far-right blitzkrieg. He will carry on about conservative forces. He will talk about Alistair Coe. I think he misses Alistair, as we all do, and he will do whatever he can to keep his cards concealed, as close to his chest as possible. When it comes to the cost and delivery of this project, he will create diversions, he will find excuses and he will just keep running the other way.

I say to the minister: you can keep on running, but you cannot hide from this one. For every rates notice that arrives in every suburban letterbox, for every pothole that anyone drives over, for every police matter that is not warranted to be important enough to result in police attendance, for every surgery that is delayed, for every road project that is cancelled, with the money diverted to the tram, for every asset that is sold, with the proceeds going to the tram, for every bridge that sits unfixed for three years, and for every unliveable public housing dwelling, whenever any of these matters impact on anyone, they will look to this government, and they will look at the biggest single pork-barrelling, red, shiny thing in the history of this town. They will want to know, “How much?”

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