Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 10 Hansard (23 September) . . Page.. 3511 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

came back and said, "I have tried A, B, C and D-and X, Y and Z-but it is impossible; it just cannot be done-the government is not going to change its position", that would be another story.

In that situation, he would have accepted the direction of the Assembly and gone away and done something along the lines of what he was requested to do. Then, if he still did not want to change his position and gave the Assembly good reasons for it, the Assembly might well take a completely different course.

He has done none of that. He has arrogantly refused to abide by the will of the Assembly. He has done nothing and has indicated to us again today that he proposes to do nothing. That is worthy of a censure. If the minister is censured, as Mr Smyth has said, we will see what he does after that.

I would strongly urge all members of the government that, if the Assembly calls on you to do something, or directs you to do something, you go ahead and do it. That is just a fact of life in a minority government in an Assembly such as this. You might not like it. I am sure that, at times, we did not especially like it when we were in government, but that is something the democratic process expects you to do. That is something the people of the ACT expect you to do, and it is not all that hard.

We did it. We came back, and sometimes we were forced, probably, to back down and accept that it was the will of the Assembly. "Fine, we will do that."We would maybe make some changes as a result of the Assembly saying, "Government, you are not going to go ahead and do that-do this instead."Quite clearly, it is not good enough to arrogantly say, "No, I'm not going to do it and I have no intention of doing it."

Members, if you allow the minister to get away with this today, this Assembly will have failed one of the most significant litmus tests it could have put to it. We will not be doing what we are paid to do on behalf of the people of the ACT. We will not be upholding one of the great tenets of our democratic system-the right of the parliament to vote and to make decisions-and, in this instance, the right of the majority of this democratically elected Assembly to call on or direct a minister of the government to do a certain simple thing which he has refused to do. He has not done anything about that over the last three weeks, and he comes here today and tells us that neither he nor the government has any intention of doing that.

MRS DUNNE (2.56): For the first time in this Assembly, we are here today to bring a motion to censure a minister. The stock in trade of the previous opposition was to censure anyone at the drop of a hat, but this opposition has not been inclined to do so. We have been brought here today because of the continuing and almost breathless arrogance of this minister.

During the debate on 27 August, when we discussed the Nettlefold Street trees, the minister said, "No, I am not going to do it. You cannot make me do it."He then repeated those remarks in the Canberra Times. As a result of that, and after discussion with members around this place, I found that the people who had supported the motion on 27 August were pretty unhappy with what had been said by the minister. Therefore, I took the opportunity in the adjournment debate the following day, which was 28 August, to

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .