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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 10 Hansard (23 September) . . Page.. 3509 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

If this goes unchallenged today-if this censure motion fails-then we will have evidence of an arrogant government that will do and say whatever it wants, whenever it wants, because it does not feel responsible to anyone. The minister deserves censure.

MR STEFANIAK: (2.47): During the course of this Assembly, I think we have only ever had one government with a majority of members. That was the Alliance government which, as it turned out, was a somewhat loose coalition.

It is a tradition in this Assembly that we have minority governments. Minority governments are in a position where they must listen and can be forced-and should, indeed, be forced from time to time-by the will of the Assembly to do the bidding of the majority of members. As my colleague, Mr Smyth, has most eloquently put it, the actions of Mr Corbell-or rather total lack of actions and total disregard for what the Assembly required him to do as Minister for Planning-are deserving of censure.

I am trying to think of an example where the previous government might not have obeyed the Assembly. There may be one, but I seem to recall, over the six and a half to seven years of that previous government, an acceptance that, if the Assembly directed, or called on, you to do something and a majority of members voted for that, you would, as a minister, go away and do it. It happened on a number of occasions to my colleague, Mr Smyth; it happened on a number of occasions to me; and I believe it happened on a number of occasions to every other minister in that government, because that was the will of the Assembly. That is the convention.

This is something of a litmus test for this Assembly. If we let this go through-if the majority of this Assembly votes against the motion put by Mr Smyth-then we will have failed as an Assembly. We will have failed to uphold the fundamental democratic right-that is, the will of the majority of the Assembly.

As Mr Smyth has said, this is not calling on the minister to do something impossible, it is calling on him to have discussions. It is calling on him to do sensible things to see if, in fact, there can be a land swap. He has done nothing. He has indicated, quite bluntly and arrogantly, that he has not done anything. When given a second chance by the supplementary question as to whether he is going to do something, he indicated that the government has no intention of doing anything. That is not good enough.

Mr Stanhope: I wish to raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I would welcome your guidance on whether or not this motion is in order, on the basis that, on my understanding, standing order 200 says that no vote of the Assembly or resolution for the appropriation of the public money of the territory should be proposed in the Assembly except by a minister.

The motion under discussion here was effectively in breach of the standing orders. That was a view I had at the time, but did not raise. Having regard for the political stunt being pursued now, I wish to raise with you whether or not, on a proposal raised in this house otherwise than on the motion of a minister that moneys be expended-namely the payment of compensation-we can possibly be debating a censure on a motion that is clearly out of order.

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