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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 7 Hansard (30 June) . . Page.. 1780 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

If the school bus driver ran off the road, crashed into a light pole, came back onto the road, hit a car and finished up in a ditch and no-one was hurt, you could say his intentions were good, but you would still get a new bus driver.

The intentions of the Chief Minister to bring Olympic soccer to Canberra and to keep the Raiders and the Brumbies in town may have been well meaning, but they can in no way excuse her for her refusal to follow due process, for her denial of the need for transparency and openness, for her misguided determination to treat the business of government as no different than the doing of business. They cannot excuse her for breaking a fundamental law. They simply do not excuse the Chief Minister for flouting fundamental principles of parliamentary democracy in spending taxpayers' money without authority, and for her contemptuous regard for both those principles and this Assembly.

The people of Canberra can see through this Chief Minister. They are sick of the gloss and the glib one-liners. There is no other inference to draw from the poll results reported in yesterday's Canberra Times. The Chief Minister may well rationalise the dive in her approval as the result of a continued assault on her by the media and the Opposition, but it is on her head. Every second person in the Territory - every second person in Canberra - believes that this motion should succeed and the Chief Minister should go. Mr Speaker, this Assembly and the Canberra community can have no confidence in a Chief Minister who has behaved in this way and, equally, has shown no sign that it might not happen again. Mr Speaker, I commend this motion to the Assembly.

Motion (by Mr Humphries ) agreed to:

That Mrs Carnell have leave to speak without limitation of time.

MS CARNELL (Chief Minister and Treasurer) (11.11): Mr Speaker, a motion of no confidence is the most serious that can be laid before this Assembly. Together with rejecting an Appropriation Bill in its entirety, it is one of only two triggers available to this Assembly should it choose to dismiss a government. It is also the kind of motion that should never be moved lightly, because in doing so the mover risks creating enormous instability in the government of the Territory and creates the potential for the parliament to overturn the clear will of the voters as expressed at the last election. For those reasons, I regard today's debate with the utmost seriousness, as does everybody on this side of the Assembly. I therefore intend to spend a considerable amount of time responding to the allegations that have been made by those opposite and explaining my actions and therefore those of the Government.

Mr Speaker, some members of the Assembly have stated on several occasions, both here and outside the chamber, that I have personally broken the law and that I have acted unlawfully. Mr Stanhope probably made those comments in his statement just a minute ago. The imputation they have made is that I knowingly set out to break the law and deliberately flout its provisions. The allegations are completely untrue; but, all the same, there can be no more serious charge. My approach, and that of my colleagues, will be to use the facts rather than emotive statements to explain my actions and those of the Government, because, despite what Mr Stanhope has claimed in his motion, it is the actions of the Government as a whole, not just mine, that are at issue here.

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