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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 10 Hansard (30 August) . . Page.. 3794 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

Mr Speaker, much has been said in and of this place with regard to adversarial politics. I have to observe that at times the piety and breastbeating associated with condemnation of an adversarial approach has been quite obviously contrived. As we contemplate our role here, we have been encouraged by the recognition of the legitimate functions of an opposition in the recently published Pettit report. This should go part of the way towards the general acceptance that adversarial politics is a necessary part of the process of government under the Westminster system. I would like to make the point that I view adversarial politics as extending beyond adopting a negative approach to proposals and initiatives. It is wider than the opposition gainsaying the government; it can also be engendered through ostentatious and consistent self-congratulation by government or by selected and exaggerated claims of government achievement-claims that simply scream out for a response that must be of a negative dimension. It can also be engendered by the introduction of controversial items designed more to confer notoriety on the proposal than to give the ACT good law.

I still stand by that paragraph I delivered when I first rose to my feet in this place.

I have to respond to what Mrs Burke said. It was as if she was apart from this place. I have here in front of me a dissenting report claimed to have been authored by Mrs Burke and Mr Hird in relation to the last estimates committee. It ascribes all sorts of malicious motives to self. It was part of political gain. I think it was tabled by the Chief Minister, because the house had the good sense previously not to allow it to be tabled after the report of the committee was tabled. The people who put this in did not contribute to the committee in the way that is implied, but that is a separate question.

What I am saying is that the people who signed this are part of the process. Instead of just saying "ostentatious and self-congratulation" in my inaugural speech, I should have also added, if only I had known, "excessive positive self-attribution of virtue". I think all of those things require the witnesses or the people in the room to turn around and say, "You've got to be kidding!"

I will close. I was going to sling a couple more, but I will not. I can recall a couple of weeks ago a trumped-up censure motion being aimed at me. Mrs Burke was also part of that. For her to stand up here with the piety she did before lunch beggars belief.

MS TUCKER (4.31): I think this is an interesting discussion. I have thought a lot about adversarial government and cooperation. It is useful that Mr Quinlan pointed out that a lot of work here is cooperative. I have heard Mr Moore say that on many public occasions. The impression that reaches the community is often not that we are working together at all. Conflict is more interesting, because it surround issues important to the community, not that the issues we work on together are not important. Everything we do in this place is important. When there is a difference of opinion on an issue, it is news and it is interesting to the community.

In defence of the media, if media owners made a commitment to allowing greater and deeper coverage of what goes on here, that would occur. I am not of the view that the community would not want it and would not be interested. It is about how information is presented. My feeling from my work here and in the community is that people are interested in the issues and they are interested in understanding what is going on. But we all work with what we have to work with, including the media. That is the reality.

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