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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 5 Hansard (13 May) . . Page.. 1841..


MR SMYTH (continuing):

The rule about not misleading parliament is not there just to catch dishonest ministers; it exists to ensure that parliament can make its decisions on the basis of the truth. If Mr Stanhope or any of his ministers cannot provide us with the truth for any reason, they cannot stay on as ministers.

We are here today for the simple reason that Mr Stanhope has acted to conceal his failings as the acting emergency services minister in his failure to receive and to return phone calls. He has acted over 16 months to defend a politician's reputation at the expense of the need for closure of many thousands of Canberrans. Indeed, he has sought to create and then use a very false account of his 24 hours as acting minister as an actual political tool against members of this Assembly. He has repeatedly boasted that he could leverage the events of that disastrous day to strive for majority government, wiping out the opposition and crossbench members, and removing all prospect of their scrutiny either on this issue or on any other.

It has been put that we have made no case. Mr Quinlan got up and attempted, in his standard way, to list five things that we had "got wrong"-in his words. But what they did not do was address the core of the misleading-the serious misleading, the serial misleading-of this place: that phone calls were received or not received was always denied; that phone calls were not made was denied; that the state of emergency declaration was limited to Saturday, until it was revealed that it was discussed on the Thursday; that McLeod would uncover everything-and yet it did not; that cabinet was never briefed, or it never thought it was serious, or was never told of the threat to the city-

Mr Hargreaves: It's not in the motion.

MR SMYTH: Yes, this was all discussed.

Mr Hargreaves: It's not in the motion.

MR SMYTH: We have been misled. Read the motion. I continue: that the state of emergency was-when it was revealed that the state of emergency had been discussed earlier-then about a blackout; that Phillip Chaney did not tell anyone in the government, when he did; and that no-one contacted me for two days. That is the list of the misleading that this Chief Minister has carried out. They are the things that we take him to task on today.

He has misled us; he has misled the public; and he has shown us that he plans to profit from his misleading in ways that are entirely political and entirely disreputable. We should have set a much higher standard today. The motion of no confidence deserves to be passed. We will pass what has been amended. Once again I urge MLAs not to align themselves with Jon Stanhope in the lowering of our standards of government for this city.

Question put:

That the motion, as amended, be agreed to.


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