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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 06 Hansard (Tuesday, 22 June 2010) . . Page.. 2127 ..

ensure that the critical business of a government being able to communicate effectively with residents can continue from 1 July and that in future that capacity to communicate in the terms of government paid advertising will, of course, to the extent that advertising exceeds $40,000 in value, be scrutinised and agreed to by the Independent Reviewer as set out in the Government Agencies (Campaign Advertising) Act 2009.

The government have applied section 12(4) of the act in bringing these proposals to the Assembly today and we have complied with and applied the act in precisely the terms and with the intent that was agreed by this Assembly when it chose, in its wisdom, to accept and implement legislation brought forward by the Leader of the Opposition.

So, in conclusion, in the context of this, this legislation was introduced by the Leader of the Opposition. I congratulate him on its successful passage. The government has implemented it rigorously and to the letter in bringing forward these proposed appointments for the Assembly’s endorsement today and the government, of course, is happy to be involved in the implementation of Mr Seselja’s legislative provision today.

We are complying with the letter of that legislation, as Mr Seselja sought and as he introduced it, as he had it drafted and as it was proposed to apply. Mr Volker is an outstanding candidate and, similarly, the territory can be pleased and thankful that Canberra citizens of such unimpeachable reputation and character and with such significant experience as Derek Volker and Crispin Hull were inclined or prepared to respond to the call for expressions of interest.

MR SESELJA (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (12.17): We will not be supporting this motion today, for a couple of reasons, the most important of which is that Mr Stanhope has not gone through the kind of detailed process we would expect.

In the end we cannot make a judgement on whether or not Mr Volker is indeed the best applicant for the job without actually seeing who all of the applicants are. I have written to the Chief Minister in these terms and asked that we be able to see the full list of applicants so that we can judge who is the best qualified. This is a decision for the entire Assembly. That is how the legislation was designed.

It is worth going to the legislation briefly. This is an important piece of legislation. It was important that the Assembly passed it—we were very proud to bring it forward—and it is to play a very important role. It is to play a role to ensure that governments are constrained from engaging in inappropriate advertising which is not about informing the community but is about enhancing the government’s electoral prospects.

Indeed, we have seen this playing out very recently, federally, again. Because this was not in legislation federally, the Prime Minister was able to unilaterally water the process down—to the extent that the Auditor-General at the commonwealth level said it had been watered down—to the extent that the government could go ahead on its merry way and commit $38 million to prosecuting its case for a super tax on mining and indeed in a number of other areas where we are seeing commonwealth advertising at the moment.

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