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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 7 Hansard (30 June) . . Page.. 1805 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

We have had the recent Canberra Times poll about Bruce Stadium and what did we see in terms of the outcome? We saw that 65 per cent of the voters like the stadium and 65 per cent of the voters wanted it built. I have already mentioned the opinions of the sporting codes which use it. People who go there are very impressed with it; it is an excellent stadium. Only recently I was talking to some people who went to Sydney to see the new Stadium Australia and they complained about it. The big difference between it and Bruce Stadium is that you can get into sections in Stadium Australia and it is very difficult to see the players on the ground as they are like ants. It is too big. The beauty about Bruce Stadium is that it is a much more compact stadium. It is a stadium where you really can get involved as a spectator. It is an excellent asset to the Territory.

Finally, as a former prosecutor in the ACT, I must say that I would be embarrassed if I were to appear in court with a case as weak as the one presented by the Opposition. In fact, I do not know whether I could, in all conscience, show my face in public if I was going to try to prosecute this Chief Minister with this little evidence. I think my peers would laugh me out of court. I would not get past the prima facie stage. In fact, I doubt very much whether the DPP would even contemplate running a case like this one, so it probably would not even get to court.

Mr Stanhope's peers, the members of this Assembly, should take the same view. There has not been any evidence provided to back up this charge and Mrs Carnell should be allowed to continue her good work for the Territory. She was voted in with a huge personal vote and a substantial majority, compared with the vote of the Labor Party, only some 16 months ago and I think that she should be given every right to continue to do the excellent job that she has done for the Territory in over four years as Chief Minister, often through some very difficult times. Remember, even Mr Quinlan has said that he was sure that the intention was not to commit an illegal act. For all these reasons, Mr Speaker, especially on the question of intent, Mr Stanhope's motion fails any reasonable test.

Sitting suspended from 12.55 to 2.30 pm

MR WOOD (2.31): Mr Stanhope and Mr Quinlan have well laid out the case against the Chief Minister. My purpose is to focus on the procedure today and to put it into the context of other no-confidence motions in this Assembly, or, more precisely, the successful no-confidence motions in this Assembly. As a member here for 10 years, I have sat through two successful no-confidence motions. The first was on 5 December 1989, when Rosemary Follett was toppled, and the second was on 6 June 1991, when Mr Kaine was toppled. I have reread those debates and they are very interesting.

Contrary to what Mr Stefaniak claimed at the end of his speech, before lunch, the carriage of this motion today would not set an amazing precedent. It would not set a new standard. Indeed, in the context of those earlier successful no-confidence motions, the bar today is higher than it was on those two other occasions. Mr Moore nods. It is clear that the issue presented by Mr Stanhope today is a most serious, a most compelling argument to say to the Chief Minister, "You should not continue in that job". Other members have explained those issues.

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