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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 6 Hansard (7 June) . . Page.. 1823..


DR FOSKEY (continuing):

Perhaps it is symptomatic of the way that the opposition tackles things. Mr Stefaniak's amendment indicates to me that he is not prepared to acknowledge the strength and value of the community of residents currently living at the Narrabundah park. I wonder how much time he has spent there listening to them, hearing their concerns and understanding that this is a trauma close to the loss of a loved one. On the scale of stress-related factors in people's lives, this is up there. Some people have lived there for 30 years. They do not have alternatives like members of the opposition do.

Has the opposition not looked into the possibility of finding an alternative long-stay caravan park berth in the Canberra region? Apparently they have not. There has been an acknowledgment of the shortage of affordable private rental accommodation, but nothing I have seen in Liberal Party policies is about addressing this. In fact, most of their housing policies would exacerbate this very issue. While the opposition expresses heartfelt concern about long public housing waiting lists, I am yet to see solutions put on the table.

Every part of my original motion that was of substance and which indicated an understanding of the situation would be deleted by the Stefaniak amendment. It seems to me that his amendment belongs to that class of people that I referred to in my earlier speech-people who do not get it, the people in this town who do not think that business has a responsibility to add to the good of the community.

This town is still small enough that people know what people do. People make decisions according to what they know about a particular firm. Business people on our boards, even on the board of Koomarri, want to be shown to be doing the right thing. We live in a world where business is being given more and more licence. Governments, including Labor governments, give them more all the time. Developers in this town have quite an amount of power, and I think it is just good commonsense and reflects a love for the community that we live in if we ask them to behave ethically and to consider the community that they operate in.

I know that the opposition rejects the idea of having human rights in our law, but to me corporate social responsibility is part of that agenda of human rights. The human rights lexicon is written for governments. It does not-it should-apply to corporations and private businesses, so we need another mechanism. We need, more or less, a code of corporate behaviour, and that is the spirit in which we have moved our motion. More and more we are giving corporations and businesses the right to determine our social environments. Well, let them have the good of the social environment in mind. Thus concluding, I thank the Assembly, or the bulk of it, for supporting the spirit of my motion.

Amendment negatived.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Motion, as amended, agreed to.


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