Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 4 Hansard (3 May) . . Page.. 1142..
MR SMYTH (continuing):
apparent commitment to open government. It says, as an objective, that Labor will deliver openness and, as a strategy, that Labor will "make public our plans for the short and long term especially leading up to the annual budget"—not maybe in the budget or possibly after the budget, but up to and leading into the annual budget. Where does the Costello report fit in that context?
Let us read a little bit more from Labor's platform. As an objective, it says that Labor "aims to provide means for public scrutiny of government operations and challenging decisions of government"and, as a strategy, that Labor will—wait for it—"relax cabinet-in-confidence rules to allow a more open system of government". It says they will not hide behind them; they will relax them. But it says that submissions—I repeat: submissions—pertaining to budget deliberations should remain secret. So where does the Costello report fit into this context? It is not a cabinet submission; it is a report from an independent group. Well, hypocrisy is alive and well, and the chief hypocrite is sitting over there—say one thing at the ALP branch policy discussion and then do something opposite when you are in government.
I think this episode has shown two unfortunate characteristics of the Chief Minister. Firstly, he is a weak leader, he has hidden the Costello report and he has created confusion and uncertainty. And, secondly, he lacks courage. Jon Stanhope lacks courage. He has been Chief Minister for more than four years, yet he has not got the courage to say to the ACT community: "I have asked for a detailed analysis of the prospects of the ACT budget. I have received that analysis and I want to now invite you to examine that report and provide me with your response. As your Chief Minister, I will then take a range of propositions to cabinet and we will work together to restore the ACT to prosperity."Jon Stanhope has not displayed any leadership in this issue. He should demonstrate courage as Chief Minister and release the report prepared by Michael Costello. We will all then be in a position to test your courage against the opinions and expectations of the ACT community. The report of the Costello review must be released now. Until that time, Chief Minister, you have failed the ACT community.
That Mr Smyth's motion be agreed to.
The Assembly voted—
Question so resolved in the negative.
MS PORTER (Ginninderra) (4.37): I move: