Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 10 Hansard (23 September) . . Page.. 3505 ..
MR CORBELL: The government will not be initiating those discussions. The government made its position in relation to Nettlefold Street quite clear. We felt it was not appropriate to revisit a land sale conducted by the previous government for land sold by the previous government-in fact, sold by Mr Smyth when he was Minister for Urban Services-for development on that site.
In the debate in the Assembly in relation to Nettlefold Street it was clear, from the government's perspective, that there was no new evidence to suggest any need to revisit that site, and that the only point being pursued by those opposite was the political advantage gained by the changing of their position.
Whilst the government respects the right of members in this place to move such resolutions, the government is not obliged to follow up on them if it believes there is no strong reason for doing so. Based on the debate, no new evidence was presented that would warrant a change of mind-except the political advantage the Liberal Party thinks it will accrue to itself from its policy backflip.
Minister for Health and Minister for Planning
Motion of censure
MR SMYTH (Leader of the Opposition) (2.34): I seek leave to move a motion of censure of the minister for his failure to comply with the direction of the Assembly.
MR SMYTH: I move:
That the Assembly censures Mr Corbell (Minister for Planning) for his refusal to negotiate with the owners of the site at the corner of Nettlefold Street and Coulter Drive as directed by the Assembly.
These are very serious matters. In the past, when the Assembly has called on, or directed, ministers in a government to do something, those matters have been taken very seriously. Unfortunately, the arrogance of this minister is such that he feels he is beyond the direction of the Assembly-and he feels he can ignore motions passed in this place. In effect, he feels that he can ignore the people of the ACT when their representatives ask him, or direct him, to do something-in this case, to negotiate. He feels that he does not have to do so.
I cannot think of too many occasions in the past when directions of this nature have been made on which governments have failed to adhere to what the Assembly has called for. I can recall a number of occasions, particularly in the last Assembly-I think of the heritage listing at Red Hill and the issue of an inquiry that later became the Gallop inquiry into disabilities-on which there have been motions of this Assembly directing, or calling on, a government to do something.
This goes to the fundamental basis of whether or not the Assembly has the right to direct a government, or call on a government, to do something. I believe it does, otherwise, the executive would have unfettered power-and that is not how the Westminster system