Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 10 November 2021) . . Page.. 3266 ..
that what should be a tripartisan effort to secure territory rights seems to be far less important to Greens and Labor members here than political point-scoring. That is what has happened through their motion and subsequent actions and what has been, either intentionally or unintentionally, a mischaracterisation of statements for their own political advantage.
While we are trying to present a unified front on state rights and show ourselves to be a professional and respectful parliament, worthy of the trust of our federal parliament, it looks as though the very opposite is the case. In my view, the actions have put back our campaign for state rights. The politics that have been played on this—an attempt to smear, to play grubby politics and point score—seem to have been put in front of what should be a tripartisan attempt to establish state rights for the ACT.
The entire motion of 8 October was a misstep and a break away from that tripartisan approach. As members will be aware, it was moved without any notification to the Canberra Liberals. It did not go to the admin and procedure committee. It did not go through government business. We found out about it in the Canberra Times. It was not an accident. It was clearly a partisan ambush on Ms Lee’s budget reply speech. I will quote from what Ms Lee said on that day:
The Canberra Liberals support territory rights. We signed a tripartisan motion earlier this year. Our position has not changed. And it is incredibly disappointing, appallingly disappointing, that Ms Cheyne, who received the letter from the federal Attorney-General, which is dated 1 October, has chosen this manner to bring it forward to the chamber today—incredibly disappointing.
I hope that this Assembly does the right thing and supports my motion. It would seem from the motion of 8 October that Ms Cheyne and Mr Rattenbury are far less interested in progressing the important issue of state rights in a mature and tripartisan way than in political point-scoring and damaging that cause. It seems that all they want to do is point score and attack a Liberal senator in the lead-up to the federal election, and that they saw this as an opportunity to do that. In the process, Senator McMahon, with the slur on her, seems to be collateral damage from the actions of the Labor Party and the Greens.
Members on the hill will have watched what is happening. Senator Seselja says that he was forwarded a copy of that letter. Senators up on the hill are well aware of what has occurred and the statements from Senator Seselja and Senator McMahon. They are looking at this parliament and how it responds, how it behaves.
We want to progress state rights—as we always have, and as Ms Lee has, under her leadership—as a tripartisan endeavour and put aside politicking and using this issue to try and smear and mischaracterise what people have said in another place.
My view is that the best way to deal with this is, as there has been a mislead, for those members to withdraw, to apologise—I think that in this case that is appropriate—and make sure that the federal members and senators that you corresponded with, Madam Speaker, are aware that the matter has been resolved. There is a way forward. It is a reasonable way forward on this matter. I personally do not want to see what we have