Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 03 Hansard (Tuesday, 20 March 2018) . . Page.. 673 ..
for the freedoms we have in this country, and one of those freedoms that has been upheld by all sides of politics has been freedom of the press.
When the Chief Minister said today that the media should not have an opinion and cannot have editorials, that is a stifling of one of the principles or foundations of this country, and it is a serious thing. As I said before, the wise thing would have been to come into this place and give a simple, sincere apology. Instead, we have not seen that today.
So now the ball is going to be in his colleagues’ court, and when I say “colleagues” I also include the Greens, because it is the Greens that are propping up this government and this Chief Minister. It is the Greens that voted for Andrew Barr to be Chief Minister back in late 2016. So are the Greens going to tolerate the kind of spiteful language that we have seen over the last week? Are they going to tolerate Andrew Barr’s remarks this morning that there should not be freedom of the press in this country? Or are they going to stand up for their supposed principles and say, “Enough is enough. Our community has a higher standard than what we have seen over the last week”?
I have hardly touched on the serious remarks he made about seniors in our community. The seniors demographic is, of course, the growing demographic of Canberra, the largest demographic of Canberra. These people have made enormous contributions over a lifetime to this city, and the reason we have relative affluence and comfort in this city is because of the hard work of past generations. We should be thanking them rather than condemning them. We should be putting them on a pedestal rather than trying to kick them in the teeth as the Chief Minister is doing. I and my colleagues in the Liberal Party are grateful for the contribution seniors have made and continue to make to this city. Whilst we will have our disagreements with journalists—and there is a sometimes awkward co-dependence—we are also grateful for the role they play in Canberra. It is just a shame the first minister of the ACT disagrees.
I call upon Labor colleagues, those supposedly fighting for the labour movement and the values of the labour movement, to stand up with a united voice and say that the Chief Minister’s remarks of the last week and this morning were inappropriate. It is a very simple vote. The consequences are not huge, but they are symbolic. I urge all in this place to vote for this censure.
MR BARR (Kurrajong—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development and Minister for Tourism and Major Events) (10.37): I acknowledge that the Leader of the Opposition, in moving this motion, is seeking to make a particular political point; that is understood and not at all surprising. I imagine that, were I in his position, I would make similar observations. It would be fair to observe that I have provided a very easy platform for the Leader of the Opposition in this instance, in that it clearly was a political mistake, in addition to being a personal mistake. So, as I have already outlined this morning to the Assembly, I do indeed apologise for the remarks that I made.
I think the Leader of the Opposition has, in his comments, overreached somewhat. If a statement of commitment to fundamental democratic principles, including the rule of