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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 2 Hansard (21 February) . . Page.. 505 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

Mr Corbell, I think you are skating on pretty thin ice in saying that. Whilst it is understandable for the Labor Party to say that it has to abide by his promise, I do not think that that is the right thing to do here. It is being shown that there will be some very serious problems for the AIS if the eastern route is not followed. Continuation with the western route is going to cause real problems for the AIS and we might lose that excellent institution. Yes, that might pose a dilemma for the ALP.

It is unfortunate that this issue has arisen again so close to the election, but the test of true statesmanship-the people opposite say the same thing about the Prime Minister saying sorry-is to be able to say, "We made a mistake. Yes, we did not give proper consideration to that. Yes, there are some real problems there. We should not have made that promise in the election. We now have all this other information. We were stupid to make that promise. We apologise for making it. We did the wrong thing; the eastern route is the way to go. We are sorry that we made the promise."

That does happen from time to time in politics. You are not going to lose anything out of doing that; you will probably benefit from admitting your mistake. It is stupid to stick blindly to a promise that has been shown quite clearly to be flawed. You should have seen how flawed it was last year. It was pointed out by Mr Ferguson, pointed out by other people at the AIS and pointed out on several occasions in debate in this Assembly, but you blindly went ahead with it. Maybe you thought it was more popular because you had a vociferous minority wanting a certain route and you thought there were more votes in that. But, quite clearly, you did not look at it properly. You discounted totally some very real claims which are now coming back to roost.

If you go ahead, and I assume that you have the numbers on this one, I hope that the institute will not move, but I would not count on that, and we would really hate to say that we told you so. I know that it would be hard to do so, but I think that you would be showing a lot of statesmanship here if you had a rethink on this matter and had the gumption to say that you might have got it wrong. I commend Mr Pratt's motion.

MR SPEAKER: The member's time has expired.

MS DUNDAS (4.44): Mr Speaker, I would like to speak on both the motion and the amendment. I will not be supporting the amendment because it appears to create more confusion over transport policy and I do not believe it advances the transport debate any further. This amendment is more likely to result in the continuing stagnation of transport policy that this Assembly has presided over since self-government began. The eastern option-the eastern alignment of the Gungahlin Drive extension-is part of the current Territory Plan, and I believe that to be the major and pressing environmental concern of the day.

I understand Mr Pratt is concerned about the impact the western option would have on the Australian Institute of Sport. However, I do not support his motion, as I understand that the government is already consulting with the AIS. If the opposition has any evidence that the government is not talking to the institute, and not consulting on its plans, then I would be very interested to hear about it.

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