Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 12 Hansard (23 November) . . Page.. 3888..
MR MULCAHY (continuing):
The government's arrogance is what prompted this motion today. It was not the opportunity to debate the economic merit of the decision. It was not the appropriateness or otherwise of whether the government was within its mandate to do this. It was the arrogance of the minister, not only in the period leading up to my moving the motion but also throughout the entire debate. We saw the contemptuous attitude of the minister—standing and engaging in discussion, sitting in the gallery, turning his back on Mr Smyth and leaving the chamber. It is very important to have a high standard of conduct in this chamber. If a member considers a matter serious enough to move a motion of censure, it behoves a minister to have the courtesy to listen to the issues raised and treat the matter with the seriousness that attaches to a motion of this kind.
I made it very clear earlier that I am not fond of motions of censure, except in unusual circumstances. I certainly believed on this occasion that the minister's approach warranted this particular motion and I am disappointed that the Chief Minister sidestepped the minister's conduct, which I suggest might be causing him a measure of embarrassment. I am quite sure it is causing some of his colleagues a measure of embarrassment. This morning we heard a contemptuous dissertation by a minister who threw around the place letters from people who had written in good faith. People in the gallery who had come here in good faith were dismissed as irrelevant.
The minister's arrogance is exemplified by his attitude to questions on planning and environment in the annual report hearings. Imagine how the Griffith community would react to a minister saying to them, and I am quoting him, "Suppose I had a consultation process with you and said, 'I am going to close Griffith Library; what do you think?' I know roughly what you are going to say. I have got that worked out."
It is this extraordinary, dismissive attitude that suggests a government that no longer feels accountable or, at the very least, a minister that no longer feels accountable for his conduct. It is the real danger of majority government, which I have always thought is a preferable aspect of our democracy. It is obviously not one that Dr Foskey thinks is particularly palatable. But I must say it gives cause for concern when this sort of conduct is seen as appropriate in respect of an issue that is causing a flood of communications into the offices of members, especially, no doubt, members for Molonglo.
Perhaps the last two years have lulled this government, now in its second term in government, into a false sense of security. Perhaps government members have decided to cocoon themselves in a world where they are answerable only unto themselves and their preselectors and where they can make decisions that impact on the lives of the hundreds of residents living in Griffith. If this is the case, they are due for a very rude awakening in 2008. The people of Canberra have had to endure increased rates and charges, pumped up public service numbers, 39 school closures and repeated budget deficits. Surely this is the last straw!
I think I have canvassed the issue, but I must say I took very strong exception to the minister saying this morning that this was some conspiracy and that I carried this motion in my back pocket. In fact, the motion was based on the words I used and then