Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 5 Hansard (25 May) . . Page.. 2146..
MR CORNWELL (continuing):
the moment. That number, I would suggest to members, is probably increasing on a weekly basis. I do not believe that they should be disadvantaged now or in the future. The problem is that, unless we resolve this matter today, that could be a very long future.
The point is that, if this legislation is turned down, we have not achieved any resolution of the problems facing the people living in Gungahlin. Although some suggested alternatives have been put up-light rail, et cetera-those are years away. Given the snail's pace of planning and approval in this city under this government, I would suggest that the people of Gungahlin would be waiting a very long time for any of these alternatives to come up.
There is another problem. If the legislation does not go through, I put to you that some of the alternatives may not even be proceeded with. We would still be stuck with whether this road is going to go ahead or not. That would not have been resolved. Nothing would be resolved if this legislation did not go through today.
I grant you that it has created a great deal of concern. Emotions are running high. I have received representations from about 50 people. I have no doubt that other members of the Assembly have as well. It is, however, unfair to accuse this house of fast-tracking this legislation. It is far from being fast-tracked. This debate has been going on for months; in fact, I think the minister mentioned years.
An incident having occurred in the gallery-
MR SPEAKER: Order! It is discourteous and disorderly to display signs in the gallery. If you do not put it away, I will order that you leave the chamber. I think you should leave, sir.
MR CORNWELL: It obviously causes considerable concern out there; emotions are running high. But it is not fair to talk about this legislation being fast-tracked, as I just said, because the issue has been debated for a long, long time.
Mr Hargreaves: Derailed.
MR CORNWELL: Thank you, Mr Hargreaves. I put to you further that safeguards are going to be built in, which, I believe, will satisfy the concerns of some people. I do not believe that the actions in this chamber are undemocratic, a charge that has been laid. I also do not believe that the accountability of this chamber is under threat, because the simple fact is, Mr Speaker, that democracy and the accountability of this chamber will be decided by the people of this territory on 16 October this year. That is where the buck finally stops. I believe that people's views will be able to be expressed at that time, whether they support the passage of this legislation or whether they do not.
MS TUCKER (11.06): It is extraordinary that this government, with all of its professed commitment to scrutiny and process, is prepared to abandon significant principles associated with that in order to look like it is moving more quickly than the Liberal Party to push Gungahlin Drive through the nature park.
How many times have people in Canberra seen what the Carr government has done in New South Wales, or the Howard government has done, when laws have been