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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 02 Hansard (Tuesday, 8 March 2011) . . Page.. 483 ..


government act. They will not have done so. It will be harder to actually get the reforms that this Chief Minister thinks are so important through because they will think that they have done their job. They have not done their job.

This will not aid the people of the ACT in having an adequate constitution to allow them to live according to the rights that everyone in this place seems to think we have. This is a piecemeal approach. It is an inappropriate approach and it does not do justice to the people of the ACT. When we vote on this the record will show that the Labor Party and the Greens do not want to do justice to the people of the ACT.

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) (12.20): Mr Speaker, I thank members for their contribution. I must say that I find the Liberal Party’s attitude quite enlightening. I am, frankly, stunned that the Liberal Party today have stood up and declared to the people of Canberra that they do not care—they do not care about the change, they do not care about rights, they do not care about democracy and they do not care about fundamental principles. If they did, they have not got the courage, the guts, to do anything about it.

What a pathetic, gutless performance we have seen this morning from the Liberal Party in the ACT. These are issues that go to fundamental principles of democracy, fundamental rights and fundamental issues around respect, and the Liberal Party walk away. They walk away from the people of the ACT. They walk away from principle. This is an issue of principle. It is an issue that this Assembly and all of us in this Assembly have indicated over the last decade that we believe should be pursued. We sought to do it in a whole of self-government act context with a review and the opportunity or chance for reform of all aspects of the self-government act.

We have been unsuccessful in attracting the interest of the commonwealth to do that. We have been unsuccessful through seven years, over this last decade of Liberal government, and we have been unsuccessful to be non-partisan about it under three years of Labor government. We have made serial representations to engage the commonwealth government in amending an act of their parliament, the ACT self-government act, to better reflect the realities of self-government. We have done it repeatedly, we have done it consistently, we have done it often and we have done it genuinely. We now have an opportunity to deal with one of the issues that many of us have identified as requiring attention.

The Liberal Party have signalled today: “Let’s let the first opportunity in 21 years for an amendment to the self-government act that seeks an outcome that all of us support pass.” It is the first opportunity in 21 years and the Liberal Party will vote today to let it pass—“Let it pass. Let’s let this one opportunity that we have had in 21 years pass. Let’s not worry about it. It’s not that important. Even if it were important, we don’t have the guts to stand up for the people of Canberra. We don’t have the guts to stand up for democracy. We don’t have the guts to stand up for our constituents in the hope that they might be accorded some of the respect that they deserve as Australians.”


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