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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 14 Hansard (10 December) . . Page.. 4060 ..

MR SPEAKER (continuing):

Emerging from this experience, I would ask members to be a little more aware in future of the possible repercussions of the tabling of documents in this place. I have raised these concerns before. I also ask that members, in the granting of leave to table papers, make themselves aware of the contents of the documents in question.

Leader of the Opposition

MR SPEAKER: Members, I have been advised that on 25 November 2002 the parliamentary Liberal Party elected Mr Smyth as its leader, and that he had consented to be Leader of the Opposition. I recognise Mr Smyth as Leader of the Opposition from 25 November 2002, in accordance with standing order 5A.

MR SMYTH (Leader of the Opposition): Mr Speaker, I seek leave to make a statement.

Leave granted.

MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, I rise today to address the house as the new Leader of the Opposition. It is a great honour to lead the Liberal Party, and I will work hard to uphold the standards and traditions of this great party.

Mr Speaker, I believe that the people of Canberra are sick of political obstruction. I think they are, quite rightly, tired of negative opposition nit-picking and fault finding. I believe that they want ideas, positive input, and constructive solutions from their opposition. They want to know, "If we elect this mob, what will they be like in government?"They cannot know what we will be like as a government if we are just nay-sayers.

However, we must recognise that there is a need for oppositions to keep governments accountable. I accept the view put to me the other day that good governments are made by good oppositions, and this opposition will continue to subject the government to rigorous scrutiny. In short, if the government screws up we will let the people know.

But we won't leave it there. What we will be saying is: "The government has screwed up and here is how to fix the mess."I have already tried to do this as a shadow minister. For example, my response to the public liability insurance crisis is still on the table in this place, and is still the only plan that will actually work. I have suggested publicly how the hospital waiting list crisis can be addressed, and this week I will be moving a motion that inserts the missing links into the health action plan. This is what I am about as a leader. It is about listening to community concerns, scrutinising government policy, and coming up with a solid, constructive solution.

Mr Speaker, I hereby put the government on notice that these examples are just the beginning. The opposition will continue to produce innovative solutions over the next two years. Indeed, by the time we get to the next election the people of Canberra, as well as those opposite, will know exactly what the Canberra Liberals will deliver in government because we will have shown this through our actions as the alternative government.

Mr Speaker, I am a Liberal and I am proud to be leading the Liberal team in this place. I believe in the Liberal traditions of Sir Robert Menzies and note the great strides in all facets of life the country achieved under his leadership.

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