Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 10 Hansard (23 September) . . Page.. 3531 ..
MR SPEAKER: No, you have got to withdraw it unequivocally.
Mrs Cross: Mr Speaker, am I withdrawing the whole thing?
MR SPEAKER: You are withdrawing your remark-
Mrs Cross: that Mr Corbell is in contempt of this place?
MR SPEAKER: You are withdrawing the imputation of contempt.
Mrs Cross: The whole thing.
MR SPEAKER: Forthwith.
Mrs Cross: I withdraw what I said about Mr Corbell being in contempt of this place.
MR CORBELL: Mr Speaker, if, as Ms Tucker argues and has said in this place, the executive cannot be bound by a resolution of this place, why is she prepared to censure? It seems to me that the only reason she is prepared to censure me is that she did not think I paid enough notice to the motion.
Mr Speaker, I did pay attention to the motion. I had discussed with my officers what could be done in relation to the motion, and it became clear to me that it was not appropriate to act on the motion. My view was confirmed. It is not as though I have not talked about it again since we walked out of this place. I was asked to comment on it, on the day the motion was passed, and I reiterated the government's position that we did not think it was a sensible thing to do and, no, we would not be doing it.
I subsequently had discussions with officers from the planning authority and from the Land Development Agency, and I explored whether it was in any way possible. It came down to whether or not I was prepared to pretend.
I could have avoided all of this by just writing a letter to the lessee, and the lessee would have written back to me and said no. I could have stood up in this place and said, "There you go,"and everything would have been all right. But that is just pretending. It is duplicitous and I was not going to do it, because I knew very clearly what the answer was going to be.
I could either be duplicitous and effectively abide by the motion, or I could be honest with myself and with members of this place and say that we know it is not going to happen and we won't try to do it, because the lessee won't agree to it. Anyway, why would they when they complied with the Territory Plan, the land act and the tree protection legislation?
As a minister, my responsibility is to make sure that the laws in this place that I am responsible for are upheld. That is what I am responsible for, and that is what I did. If Ms Tucker has a problem with the tree protection legislation, she can amend the act. If the Liberals have a problem with the land use policy, they can seek to amend the Territory Plan. But how can ministers do their job if the policy framework in which they operate,