Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 7 Hansard (15 August) . . Page.. 2120..
MR PRATT (continuing):
the community and also in accordance with their responsibilities to parliament in their roles as ministers.
What occurred recently when these ministers voted at the recent Labor Party conference is not democracy in action. This is not a demonstration of elected members of parliament representing the interests of those in the community who elected them to office, nor are they representing their parliamentary party. They are being held to ransom by their factions.
The Chief Minister came rumbling down here from his cave to have a crack at us about what he perceived, or what he alleged, to be a humorous attack. The so-called hilarity that the Chief Minister talked about was simply a momentary, natural response by the opposition in a deeply serious debate to the pathetic and clown-like defence mounted by the Chief Minister's chief clown. The opposition can be excused for responding in that way for a few minutes.
MR SPEAKER: Order, that sort of-
MR PRATT: Come on, Mr Speaker. We have the Chief Minister belting the hell out of the opposition.
MR SPEAKER: Order! That sort of name-calling does not add to the quality of debate. Referring to people as clowns is disorderly.
MR PRATT: I withdraw "clown".
Mr Mulcahy: What about unloved and unwashed and all that rubbish?
MR PRATT: That is okay. I withdraw "clown". This is not a debate just about these ministers' decisions to vote against their parliamentary party or to vote against the issue of school closures or government employees' superannuation cuts. It is much, much broader than that. This debate is about two ministers who not only have not represented the interests of their constituents in parliamentary terms but also have gone against the new ministerial code of conduct that the Chief Minister established in this Assembly in 2004. On page 2 that code states;
All Ministers who make up the Executive of the Government acknowledge that the collective decisions of Cabinet are binding on them individually. If a Minister is unable to publicly support a Cabinet decision, the proper course is to resign from Cabinet.
Hypocritically, the Chief Minister is not even upholding his own code of conduct and has stated publicly that he will not take any disciplinary action against his ministers for voting against the decisions of cabinet. This is absurd. This is where it gets interesting. We can see from the way Ms Gallagher and Mr Corbell voted in defiance of cabinet at the ALP conference that this Chief Minister, Jon Stanhope, has lost the support of at least two of his cabinet colleagues. That is literally what it means. Therefore it mystifies me why the Chief Minister has not taken the appropriate disciplinary action based on the code of conduct that was formulated under his authority. That is probably because he does not have any authority to exercise leadership over the factions. He cannot cross