Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 10 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 September 2011) . . Page.. 4149 ..
refused to support a motion that would bring about independent operators and prevent them from being excluded from bidding for new supermarkets. Later, in June 2010, Ms Hunter again shut the door on independent operators bidding for supermarket sites.
It is quite apparent that Ms Hunter is trying to walk on both sides of the road. Today she has talked about the concerns of local IGA operators. She talked about the concerns of people at the Evatt shops and about the impact that changes in Giralang may have on their shops. But at the same time that she is doing this, Ms Hunter steadfastly stuck to the then Stanhope line on supermarket policies. Ms Hunter went on 666 radio on 18 June 2010 and, amongst other things, said, “We support the government’s strategy.”
Ms Hunter has to work out what it is that she and the Greens believe. Do they believe that local independent supermarket operators should have a reasonable opportunity to bid for supermarket sites? Do they believe that we should uphold and support local independent supermarket operators or do they believe in supporting the government’s policy? You cannot walk on both sides of the road and be consistent. You cannot go to your constituents in Evatt—even though you do not live in the electorate—and say, “I support you,” if you supported the then Stanhope government’s policy, and now the Gallagher government’s policy.
Ms Hunter, on behalf of the Greens, is sending, at the very best, a confused message. She and the Greens are compromised in this place because they do not have the courage to stand apart from the government and to do as the Canberra Liberals have done—stand up for independent supermarket operators in the ACT. And when the issues come to the crunch, Ms Hunter says, “It’s not really about that; let’s not talk about that, let’s talk about Giralang.”
They are all inextricably linked. We are in this mess in Giralang because of the government’s supermarket policy and we are in this mess across the board because of the Greens’ complicity in the government’s supermarket policy. Between now and tomorrow, the Greens need to sort out exactly what it is they believe and who they are going to stand up for. Are they going to stand up for Labor or are they going to stand up for supermarket competition in the ACT and independent supermarket operators in the ACT?
MS LE COUTEUR (Molonglo) (11.18), in reply: I will comment on various comments from my Assembly colleagues. Mr Seselja and Mrs Dunne, I put a motion on this matter on the notice paper for the last sitting period and it was tabled for Assembly business. As we all remember, Assembly business ran out of time in the last sitting period.
I will agree there was one significant difference, insofar as I was looking at a standing committee rather than a select committee, but that was the significant difference and that was why my changed motion was tabled only yesterday. The change was principally about “standing” versus “select”. The reason that I have decided to split the motion into two this week is that last time we simply did not have time in Assembly business for a substantive discussion on the merits of supermarket policy and the decision in Giralang and, given that it is quarter past 11, it was probably the correct decision, because we have not in fact gone to most of the issues as yet.