Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 13 Hansard (13 December) . . Page.. 4102..
for Planning and Infrastructure and the proposed expression of grave concern against Dr Foskey, being called on forthwith.
Shadow Minister for Planning and Infrastructure; Dr Foskey
Motion of censure; expression of grave concern
MR SESELJA (Molonglo) (4.45): Mr Speaker, I am speaking to Mr Mulcahy's amendment, which really does go to the heart of why this motion is a complete stunt. Members of the Labor Party are saying today that the opposition can ask questions, just not questions that the minister does not like, and that if you get too close to the bone, they are going to move a motion of censure against you. We had the Chief Minister saying this morning that this is the only time that this has been done, but Mr Mulcahy has pointed out that it is not.
I draw the attention of the Assembly to the last time they did it. It was about another issue that went very close to the bone, the issue concerning the attempts to shut down the coronial inquest, the claims of bias against Maria Doogan which went very close to the bone for Jon Stanhope. He did not like the criticism that was coming. When Mr Stefaniak, in that instance, dared move a motion against the Chief Minister, the Chief Minister turned around and had Mr Stefaniak censured for daring to keep him accountable by bringing that motion forward, so we are seeing really just another part of the pattern.
This government clearly has been under pressure on this issue and the minister has not liked it. He certainly has not liked today's coverage of the issue as it has not been as favourable as he may have hoped for. So, instead of trying to have a genuine debate in the Assembly, we are seeing the use of numbers by the government to say that it is right. Mr Corbell presented absolutely no evidence in support of his case. That is why Mr Mulcahy brought forward this amendment, which goes to the heart of the issue. No evidence was presented in support of this motion. No evidence was presented as to where I may have misled the Assembly.
MR SPEAKER: You should confine your remarks to the amendment. You have already spoken to the motion.
MR SESELJA: I am to the extent that that is why this amendment has been brought forward, Mr Speaker. Not one misleading statement was pointed to by the planning minister and his effort really was quite pathetic. What he pointed to and what the Chief Minister pointed to was that it was really about the vibe of what was being said. That was the essential argument. They could not point to anything specific. They pointed to a couple of questions in a press release, but there was nothing in this place that they could point to that was even vaguely misleading.
It is important that this amendment be agreed to simply because it is the right of members to keep the government accountable. It is the right of members to put forward arguments, to ask questions and to scrutinise, and I am proud of the work that I have done in this area in keeping the government accountable. It is simply because