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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 12 Hansard (24 November) . . Page.. 3598 ..

MR SPEAKER: Mr Berry, I would ask you to stop interjecting. We have heard this debate to date in silence. I expect the rest of the debate to be held in silence, otherwise somebody might not be participating.

MR HUMPHRIES: Thank you, Mr Speaker. I quote the Canberra Times:

... by choosing the mechanism of a motion of no confidence in Chief Minister Kate Carnell he -

that is, Jon Stanhope -

runs the danger of crying wolf and of causing delays of consideration of other important matters for the ACT community.

They then go on to make reference to the idea that presumably matters of no confidence are matters dealt with as a matter of gravity and importance. I quote again:

That principle would be fine if no-confidence motions were put only when there was a serious prospect of their getting up. However, no-confidence motions have now become almost a dime a dozen. Indeed, as Independent Dave Rugendyke points out, this is the third such motion by Mr Stanhope within six months.

I note that Mr Stanhope, in his defence, argues that no-confidence motions are an acceptable part of parliamentary procedure. I would point out that it is only the Labor Party which in this place, with one exception, has moved unsuccessful no-confidence motions in Chief Ministers. They, between them, hold all of the records for those motions except, I think, for one that was moved by Dennis Stevenson in the First Assembly, which Mr Wood the other day described as a motion of little substance. Mr Speaker, as I have said many times before, and I have to say again in this place, we greatly deplete the armoury of no-confidence motions by this continual resort to them.

The other thing that has to be said about this is the clear lack of careful thought the Opposition put into this decision before deciding to go down this path. Apparently Mr Stanhope and his five colleagues all managed to read the coroner's report, consult each other, draft their press releases and make their decision to move a motion of no confidence within the space of about 30 minutes on the day that the coroner's report was handed down. I do not believe that. I believe, Mr Speaker, that the decision was made by the Labor Party some time before this coroner's report was even written that this would be a vehicle for a motion of no confidence.

Mr Speaker, I think there is very little basis in this report for the motion that has been moved here today. In fact, I think there is considerable malice behind much of what has been moved here today. I read that report and the impression I came away with was that, in fact, Mr Kaine suffered more criticism in this report than Mrs Carnell did.

Mr Hargreaves: Oh, you don't honestly believe that.

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