Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 7 Hansard (30 June) . . Page.. 1831 ..
MR MOORE (continuing):
It appears that the announced position of 16 of us has placed the final vote in Mr Rugendyke's hands. As such, he bears great responsibility for the future of this Assembly. But Ms Tucker, Mr Kaine and the six members who sponsor this motion must share equally in that responsibility.
As we have exposed, the case presented by Mr Stanhope is unjust and unsupportable. His smearing, slurring approach, relying on innuendo, accusations and misrepresentation, has dragged this Assembly to new depths. When I listen to Mr Stanhope present his case, I understand that he has taken on the worst characteristics of a political hack. He has learnt to believe his own lies. Follow that with the approach of Mr Quinlan. If you know you have lost the political argument, attack the individual. How did Mr Quinlan attack Mrs Carnell? He used the words "vanity", "deception", "brown paper parcels", "gob-smacking incompetence", "oozed pious outrage", "impugned", "corrupt actions", "ham-fisted" and "manipulation". Now he nods and says, "Yes, yes, yes". It is just calumny, and you know the impact of calumny.
When it comes to the final decision for each of us and the final thing in politics, it was Senator, now Professor, Peter Baume who once said to me, "In the end, as a politician, there is only one way to judge how well you are going. It is when you wake up at 2 o'clock in the morning and you look in the mirror and you decide that you can live with yourself". Mrs Carnell has not broken any law, either intentionally or by neglect. Anybody who votes for this no-confidence motion on those grounds, surely would not be able to get up at 2 o'clock in the morning, look at themselves in the mirror and be able to live with themselves in a reasonable way.
MS TUCKER (4.15): When the Greens were preparing to first contest the ACT elections in 1995, one issue which we had to develop a position on was whether the Greens would support a no-confidence motion in a Chief Minister. There is a traditional view that a party which is fairly elected to govern should be able to serve out its term and then let the voters decide whether it deserves to govern again. The system of majority government in most parliaments around Australia has usually meant that this is the only way to get rid of bad governments. However, there is another view, which is that, if a government gets so bad, it is the responsibility of the parliament to take action to remove that government mid-term. This view is particularly relevant to a minority government that relies on support from outside its own party to maintain government. If that support is removed, then that government can no longer stay in power.
The Greens came to the view that, while in most cases a party should be able to stay in power between elections for the sake of providing stability in government, we would be prepared to vote against a Chief Minister if the Government was grossly mismanaging the Territory's affairs. There comes a point when the need for stability in government must be overridden by the need to ensure honesty and competence in government.
Of course, it is very difficult to define in advance what constitutes gross mismanagement. The circumstances of the situation would need to be assessed thoroughly and judgments made. However, some criteria can be set for assessing a government's actions. It would obviously have to involve questions of whether the government had acted incompetently, negligently or corruptly. It may not necessarily be