Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 9 Hansard (23 November) . . Page.. 2554 ..
MR WHITECROSS (continuing):
If he had picked up the green book and read it, as Mr Connolly did, he would have seen the same references that Mr Connolly saw, saying that you cannot amend a budget, that you cannot increase an appropriation. If he had picked up the self-government Act, he would have seen that you cannot amend a budget.
I do not criticise Mr Moore for engaging in the manoeuvre. He had his reasons for engaging in the manoeuvre, but he should not be censuring us for not participating in it. We had to take the responsible position of upholding the self-government Act, of upholding the parliamentary system of government. We have done that. We did that in 1993; we have done that now. Whatever this parliament decides today about Mr Moore's motion, the Labor Party will be proud of its role. We have acted in a principled way and we have acted in a consistent way.
MR CONNOLLY (4.35 am): Mr Speaker, Mr Moore has been foolish and petulant enough to move a censure motion at 4 o'clock in the morning, a motion which, on its face, gives no reason for our being censured. In his attempt to argue his case he had to concede that he was prevented by the standing orders from setting out the reasons for his motion. In other words, he had to concede that this motion was all about his petulance with the fact that we voted with the Liberals on the proposition, which we have always maintained, that you cannot amend a budget. That is petulance and foolishness.
The Liberals, it seems, are now going to join Mr Moore and censure us for voting with them. We really have reached a low point in absurdity in this chamber, which is perhaps a product of the late hour. If you people move a motion of censure of the Leader of the Opposition suddenly at 4 o'clock in the morning, you have to expect that we might want to debate it a little. It is a serious matter, although Mr Moore devalues the currency. He has moved a censure motion which is unique in the annals of censure motions in this Assembly. The speech that supported it made absolutely no argument. Towards the end of his speech Mr Moore had to concede that he was prevented from making an argument in support of his censure motion by my persistent points of order, thus acknowledging that the motion itself really should be ruled out of order. Mr Speaker, this is an absurdity. The cynicism of the Liberals in jumping on board is, I suppose, to be expected; but we really are reaching a fairly low point in the proceedings of this place when we get silly petulant little motions like Mr Moore's.
MR MOORE (4.37 am), in reply: Mr Speaker, this censure motion is serious. It is about the duplicity of Labor in presenting themselves as being on about social justice, when in reality they are on about power. They have demonstrated that over a long time. We were asked to recall Ms Follett's approach to this whole issue of appropriation. She explained time and again, Mr Speaker, that in government she has always respected motions of the Assembly. At question time today I was able to illustrate very clearly that that was not the case; that in fact, with her then Minister for Education, Bill Wood, she had rejected a motion of the Assembly, rejected the Assembly as a whole through a censure motion, until she was forced to take some action. Yet she comes into this house and tries to take the high moral ground and tell us that she has always respected motions. There is a duplicity about it, Mr Speaker, to ensure that she will get to a point where she will have a chance for power.