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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 6 Hansard (2 September) . . Page.. 1828 ..

MR STANHOPE (Leader of the Opposition) (7.50): I will be very brief. Mr Hird's comments do not deserve a response, but Mr Hird has caught the disease the symptoms of which the Chief Minister has been exhibiting lately in quite deliberately and maliciously attributing to me things that I did not say. The comment I was making - and I will reinforce it, because it seems to me - - -

Mr Moore: Mr Speaker, I take a point of order. I think there was a clear imputation from the Leader of the Opposition, and I think it ought to be withdrawn.

MR SPEAKER: What was the imputation, Mr Moore?

Mr Moore: Mr Stanhope said words to the effect that there was a deliberate and malicious attempt to say things that he did not say. I think it is a clear imputation that somebody was lying. He is entitled to do that, but he has to do it by way of a substantive motion.

MR SPEAKER: I did not hear it, but it has been drawn to my attention. All I can do is ask for your cooperation, Mr Stanhope. If you said it, please withdraw it. If you did not, then you do not have to.

MR STANHOPE: If something I said has struck a wrong chord in Mr Moore's perception of appropriate debate or conduct, then for the sake of Mr Moore and for no other sake and so that I can get on with the few words that I wish to express, I am happy to withdraw, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Thank you.

MR STANHOPE: It is certainly the case - I am now forced to repeat the point but to rephrase it - that Mr Hird attributed to me a sentiment which I did not express, as earlier in this debate the Chief Minister attributed to me a statement which I did not make. I simply make the point that this is becoming rather tiresome. Members of the Government are continually attributing to the Opposition statements which we do not make. That was the point I was making and I think it is a very fair point. I am sorry, Mr Moore, that my language offended your sensibilities.

The point that I was making, and it is a very good point - it is a point that both the Chief Minister and Mr Hird have felt the need to dwell on at some length - is that the Government is driven in its decision to apply a fee to Floriade by the homespun and homely philosophy of Don Burke. Don Burke suggested in an article in the Canberra Times that people do not value anything that they do not have to pay for. My comments arose out of that. If the philosophy driving the Liberal Party is that nobody in Canberra values anything that they do not have to pay for - this was the sentiment the Chief Minister quoted with approval and which Mr Hird, in his own inimitable way, ascribed to - then the Chief Minister, Mr Hird and the Liberal Party certainly have a very emotional and sterile desert in their minds in terms of what it is that people live for,

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