Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 06 Hansard (Tuesday, 22 June 2010) . . Page.. 2187 ..
I think that the legislation was designed in a way that said, and I think Mr Seselja stated it very well, we need somebody who is genuinely independent, qualified and appropriate. My concern is that Mr Seselja is now setting up a different question. I think he has changed the threshold. That particularly comes through for me because he specifically said in the debate this morning that he has no criticisms of either person proposed here. I think the test for the Assembly is to say: “Are the people put forward by the government inappropriate? Are they biased? Do they lack the expertise?” Having no criticism of the candidates that are put forward, I do not think that it is for Mr Seselja and the Liberal Party to block this appointment because they have no grounds to oppose.
The candidates put forward do meet Mr Seselja’s criteria that he spelled out in the earlier debate of being independent, qualified and appropriate. I have not heard any arguments, and nor have my colleagues in the Greens, that are contradictory to those criteria that Mr Seselja set out. I think we are in a very difficult situation here where if we feel they are going to take this approach, we may actually undermine what I think was a good piece of legislation that Mr Seselja brought forward. By blocking the nominees put forward—as I say, in this case the Greens have looked at the CVs and we feel that they do have the necessary skills, qualifications and independence—we start to create a quagmire that detracts from the purpose of the legislation.
I think we have got a good piece of legislation. We should simply let it get into operation and we should appoint the reviewer, get the guidelines in place and let the legislation start rolling. It may be that in 12 months time or two years time, we need to come back and tweak the legislation. We may need to come back and say, “That did not quite work as we envisaged.” We see that all the time with the various SLAB bills and the like that the government brings through. There is always some finetuning to do. I would actually urge Mr Seselja and his colleagues to rethink the position they took this morning. Let us get this underway so that we can get this important legislation into play.
MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Minister for Transport, Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Minister for Business and Economic Development, Minister for Land and Property Services, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs and Minister for the Arts and Heritage) (4.38), in reply: I will just close the debate. I will not belabour the point but I have to say that I agree entirely with everything that Mr Rattenbury has said. I do not need to repeat that. I agree entirely, in toto, with the sentiment he expressed and essentially the examples he used.
The government have genuinely sought, in good faith, to implement the legislation. We acknowledge that it was legislation that we were not particularly or initially enamoured of, that we felt it unnecessary and at one level we might maintain that position. But we accept the legislation; we voted for it. We have sought through a transparent process, a public process, to call for expressions of interest.
Through that process, I did not invite Mr Volker or Mr Hull to nominate. I did not invite them to nominate. I did not speak with them or urge them to nominate. I did not identify them as potential appointees. They lodged an expression of interest. A position was taken to the government, to the executive. The cabinet accepted that