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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 6 Hansard (22 June) . . Page.. 1607 ..

MR KAINE (10.53): Apart from the diversion which Mr Moore has tried to create, the matter that is before this Assembly now is probably the gravest matter that comes before a legislature. The Leader of the Opposition has indicated that he intends to move a motion of want of confidence in the Chief Minister. I cannot imagine anything more serious than that. There appears to be some view abroad that this is a quite trivial thing; it does not matter, it is business as usual. Mr Speaker, I submit that it cannot be business as usual because, from the moment the Leader of the Opposition indicated that he would be moving such a motion, the Chief Minister must virtually move into a caretaker role. She cannot pursue significant matters of government business, whether by Executive decision or by dealing with significant government business that is before this house, because one week from today she may no longer be Chief Minister.

Under such circumstances, she cannot force her views, her policies and her legislation of any significance through this house. It would be unacceptable for the Chief Minister to do so. The Chief Minister cannot and must not make any significant Executive decision in the next week that would place responsibility on a new Chief Minister, if there were to be one, to implement that policy or that decision. It would be improper and inappropriate. Just as it would be improper and inappropriate for the Chief Minister to make that kind of Executive decision, it would be equally improper and inappropriate for significant government business initiated by the Chief Minister and currently before the house to be proceeded with. There is a cloud hanging over the Chief Minister and she cannot insist on her business being dealt with either inside or outside this legislature.

Somebody said that it is a matter of convention. I consider it to be a matter of convention, Mr Speaker, but it is far more than a matter of convention because the Chief Minister has to deal with very significant charges against her - charges of acting unlawfully. They are not trivial matters and they cannot be dealt with by this place as being trivial. If we are going to regard that sort of issue as trivial, one has to ask the question: What would this legislature consider to be serious? The answer, presumably, is nothing. There is nothing more serious than a Chief Minister and Treasurer acting unlawfully.

Mr Moore: She has not done so.

MR KAINE: We hear from Little Sir Echo over there. He is the man who tries to divert the issue by saying, "But my piece of legislation is more important than that". He is the man who is saying that his piece of legislation is more important than the question of a motion of want of confidence in the Chief Minister.

Mr Moore: Than politicking, your politicking.

MR SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR KAINE: Mr Speaker, you were talking about interjections before; would you deal with him? The boot is on the other foot now, Little Sir Echo. Mr Speaker, the point that I am trying to make is that this is not a trivial issue and it is not possible, in my

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