Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 10 Hansard (23 September) . . Page.. 3516 ..
MR CORBELL (continuing):
place should be conscious of is upholding the laws that they themselves pass. We have passed laws that protect trees, that allow for a process of assessing which trees should be protected and which should be removed. We have passed laws on what sort of development should and should not occur on that block of land. We have passed laws on how a development application should be assessed.
However, what you are saying to me today, if you support this censure motion is this: it does not matter whether a minister ensures that the process is consistent with every law in the territory, he or she can still be censured for it, if he or she ignores that. That is what you are saying to me today. I reject it, Mr Speaker. If you are unhappy with the policy, change the policy, but do not play petty, cheap politics about trees that are valuable. (Extension of time granted.) Do not play petty, cheap politics when you have failed to address the policy issue.
It is the policy issue that matters. What should the land be used for? How should trees be protected? We heard in the debate absolutely nothing about what had changed that made these trees valuable all of a sudden, compared to when the land was sold. We heard nothing about that. We just heard a broad assertion that these trees are valuable. Yes, there are some attractive trees on the site, I accept that, and most of them will be retained. However, they will be retained in accordance with the law, in accordance with the application of the territory's requirements. The development will occur in a way which is consistent with the land act and consistent with the Territory Plan.
When the Assembly agrees on a policy framework about how land should be used and how trees should be protected, if I ignored it, I would expect you to censure me. If I ignored the requirements of the land act or the tree protection legislation, yes, you should censure me, because I would have failed in my duty. However, I have made sure that the land act is being upheld. I have made sure that the tree protection legislation is being upheld and you are attempting to censure me because I have done that. That is what is at the heart of this.
Mrs Dunne: On the contrary, we are attempting to censure you because you would not try.
MR CORBELL: I hear it again from Mrs Dunne. You are saying we did not try. That is not what the motion says, Mr Speaker. The motion was clear and unambiguous. It required me to negotiate to achieve a land swap or pay compensation. That is what the motion required-no ifs, no buts. It required me to negotiate to achieve that outcome and anything less would have meant I would not have abided by that resolution. It was a nonsensical resolution, it was an unjustified resolution and it was an unenforceable resolution. Mr Speaker, I treat-
Mrs Dunne: Point of order, Mr Speaker. I seek your guidance on this. Is the minister reflecting upon the vote of 27 August when he said that it was an unjustifiable resolution?
MR SPEAKER: Mrs Dunne, the minister is facing a serious motion of censure. He is entitled to use any devices he can, I think, to defend himself in this place. I think you would want the same latitude.