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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 02 Hansard (Tuesday, 8 March 2011) . . Page.. 484 ..


That is the message today. That is the context—the first opportunity in 21 years to deal with an issue that goes to our fundamental rights, an issue of principle—and the Liberal Party walk away. It is all too hard. It might require them to take a position. They might have to own up to something. They might have to act collegiately. They might have to seek a bipartisan position or a tripartisan position. They might have to work with the Labor Party or the Greens. Heaven forbid that they be seen to be working with the Labor Party or the Greens. Heaven forbid that they be seen to be working collegiately. Heaven forbid that they be seen to be working in the best interests of the territory.

It is an absolute shambles—a gutless Leader of the Opposition, out of bed lately but gutless, who has no capacity to stand up for the people of the ACT, no interest in fundamental principles of democracy and no understanding of fundamental issues of democracy. He does not understand and does not care about the principle. He does not have the guts to stand up for the principle. He does not have the guts to stand up for a fundamental principle of democratic rights.

MR SPEAKER: One moment, Chief Minister. Stop the clocks, thank you. Mr Hanson.

Mr Hanson: On a point of order, Mr Speaker, under standing order 62, the Chief Minister is being repetitious. He is essentially saying the same thing. He has said the same thing about four or five times now. I would just ask that you—

MR STANHOPE: Four or five times—what?

MR SPEAKER: Order! Mr Hanson has the floor.

Mr Hanson: I am raising a point of order. He is being repetitious. I just ask that you take account of the Chief Minister’s speech and if he continues to repeat the same sentence over and over that you call him to order.

MR SPEAKER: There is no point of order. Chief Minister, you have the floor.

MR STANHOPE: Thank you, Mr Speaker. It is interesting that we have Mr Hanson showing such concern about a suggestion that his leader has no courage. It is interesting that it embarrasses Mr Hanson to have it exposed in this way—that his leader stands for nothing, that he has no courage, that he does not understand basic principles and, even if he did, that you know he would not do anything to protect the democratic rights of anybody in this territory.

It has actually been said, and the argument that the Liberals propose today goes something like this: “Yes, all right. This might be quite a good idea, but it is only one of the issues we need to see addressed. So let’s not do that; let’s wait till we can deal with these things holistically.” Mrs Dunne goes to great lengths to say that the Labor Party and the Greens today will show, if they do not support the amendment, that they do not support a broad review. That, of course, is patent nonsense. We have passed resolutions in this place. We have made representations previously to the federal parliament.


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