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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 1 Hansard (19 March) . . Page.. 5 ..

MS TUCKER: First, I would just like to comment on how pleased I am to see the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags in place in the chamber for this first sitting day.

Mr Speaker, I am nominating myself for the position of Chief Minister in order to make a very clear statement about my dissatisfaction with the choice I am faced with today. The reality is, once again, that the ACT community has chosen a minority government. They have rejected the two-party system. Therefore, it is up to the elected representatives to find new ways of working in the Assembly; and, in doing so, the crossbenches need to be taken very seriously. There is an imperative that all members of this place be included in the process of government. We are more likely to have excellent and visionary government if we make full use of the available talent. I am not convinced that either Labor or Liberal is really committed to this notion.

I am also nominating myself today because I am passionate about the importance of bringing about social change so that people and the environment are not continually seen as a secondary consideration to the budget bottom line. There is no choice; we must adapt to the social and environmental realities facing Canberra, Australia and the planet. Therefore, I proudly represent the Greens, who, I believe, are the only party facing these challenges.

Mr Speaker, as members are aware, the Greens put forward a log of claims to help us make our decision about whom to vote for as Chief Minister. I have received a written response from Kate Carnell and a verbal response from the Labor Party. After careful consideration of these statements and an examination of the record and the policies of both Labor and Liberal, the Greens have decided that we are unable to offer unqualified support to either the Labor or Liberal candidate for Chief Minister.

On the one hand, we have Kate Carnell's Liberal team. From the social justice and environmental perspectives that the Greens are coming from, I am unable to vote for a Liberal government. I do acknowledge that the Liberal Party have been prepared to work constructively with the crossbenches and are seemingly more open than Labor to reforming this place so that there is more power for the parliament and less for the Executive.

On the other hand, I believe the policies of the Labor Party are closer to the Greens agenda, although obviously their members do lack experience. I acknowledge the constraints the Labor Party have faced, with a new leadership team, in preparing themselves for government and in responding to our log of claims; but I still must make a decision based on the quality of their response and their record in this place, and I am not fully satisfied with either. I am hopeful that the new Labor team will be more flexible and inclusive, embracing constructive changes to the processes in this place that will enable more meaningful input from all Assembly members, not just those on the treasury bench.

This is a crucial time for the ACT. We have a choice - to continue with more of the same or to try a new, inclusive approach to government. Mr Speaker, the crossbenches have played a constructive and inclusive role over the last three years. My decision to stand as Chief Minister is an important step in reinforcing the point that the Greens and Independents have a valuable role to play in the government of the ACT and that Labor

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