Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 14 Hansard (Tuesday, 7 December 2010) . . Page.. 5848 ..
Misleading the Assembly is a serious thing. We take it seriously. Mismanaging the prison is a serious thing, and we take that seriously, too. We should be able to prosecute that case. Mr Hanson, no doubt, will continue to prosecute that case, whether he is allowed to do it in this place or not.
MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (3.06): Mr Speaker, when comments are sometimes thrown across the chamber that you do not agree with, the answer is always presented to members that it be done in a substantive motion. We have asked questions for which we are dissatisfied with the answers, and this place is responsible to holding ministers to account. Indeed, it is what the Greens always proposed that they would do—hold people to account. They have not heard Mr Hanson’s case. They have not heard the data that he will present and the facts that he would like to present about where the minister has misled not only the community but this place. Yet we are being shut down. We are being denied the opportunity to do our job, which I thought oppositions were meant to do—indeed, I thought crossbenchers were devoted to doing it—which is to hold the government to account.
At the heart of this is the new maths—it probably explains why Mr Corbell lost the education portfolio—apparently 300 prisoners now equals 245 prisoners, and that is okay. Mr Corbell is on the record as having said, “We have capacity in our current configuration in the prison for 25 years.” If that statement is true—and this is what we want to debate—why are we spending $39,000 on fitting bunks in a prison that, by the minister’s own words, has 25 years of capacity? One of the things the minister has said cannot be true, and that is why, Mr Speaker—
Mr Hargreaves: On a point of order, Mr Speaker, we cannot have in this debate points being made about the length of time, references back, the whole thing. The question before the house is why we should suspend standing orders. You do not need to go into the litany of argument they are putting forward.
MR SPEAKER: There is no point of order. I think Mr Smyth is outlining the importance of the argument.
Mr Hargreaves: Well, they’ve got nothing else to say, then.
MR SPEAKER: Order, Mr Hargreaves.
MR SMYTH: Mr Hargreaves would not know what else we have got to say, because the Greens are allowing the government to shut this down. The party devoted to holding the government to account and to defending truth and honour and honesty do not want to hear the case. They simply just want to shut it down.
This is the problem with those on that side just saying no. They will use the numbers of the Greens-Labor alliance to cease scrutiny in this place. They will betray the people of the ACT, and they will betray the purpose of this place by not having this debate. When an issue of this nature comes up, the appropriate way to resolve any conflict is to have a substantive motion. This is the proposal that we have put forward.