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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 8 Hansard (19 August) . . Page.. 2767 ..


MR PRATT: Mr Speaker, I ask a supplementary question. Chief Minister, when will you apologise for accusing Canberrans of complacency that is directly attributable to your government?

MR STANHOPE: Mr Speaker, it is simply nonsense for anybody in Canberra to suggest that the Canberra community was not complacent around the threats presented to this city by bushfires. I have lived here since 1969. Mr Speaker, I confess that I have been enormously complacent about the threat that I, as a resident of Canberra, face from bushfires. In the 34 years that I have lived in Canberra it never once crossed my mind that a fire would come out of the Brindabellas, descend like a wolf on the fold and burn down whole suburbs. It never once occurred to me as a resident of Canberra that that would happen. So I have certainly been complacent and I know my fellow Canberrans have been complacent.

I was not accusing people. I was not trying to do this in some subtle way in the terms of the cheap politics being played now by an opposition desperate for some relevance, grasping for tragique, running cheap tawdry politics to actually try to develop some traction on an issue where there is none for you; trying to development some relevance when you have none; trying to disguise the fact that two years after your desperate loss at the last election you have not delivered one single policy idea to the people of Canberra to justify your existence as the alternative government. Just over a year to go to the next election there is not one policy out of this mob, not a single policy idea out of this mob-two years of sitting there as the alternative government and not a single idea.

Mr Smyth: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: the Chief Minister misleads the Assembly. We put public liability reform on the table-

MR SPEAKER: There is no point of order.

Mr Smyth: The Chief Minister's corrections policy-

MR SPEAKER: Order! That is not a point of order. There is no point of order. Resume your seat. Would you like to conclude, please, Chief Minister.

MR STANHOPE: Thank you, Mr Speaker. A policy-free zone, a poor excuse for an alternative government, a year to go, two years sitting there on the opposition benches, two years aspiring to be the alternative government and not a single idea, not an option-empty, vacuous, a vacuum, nothing to contribute except cheap tawdry politics over a major disaster that has afflicted the entire community.

Mr Smyth: Mr Speaker, I take a point of order and I do so on two points. Under standing order 118 (b) the minister is not allowed to debate the subject. He must answer the question and not interpret or debate it. The second point is that what he says is just simply not correct. The policies that we put on-

MR SPEAKER: Well, you don't-

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