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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 10 Hansard (23 September) . . Page.. 3532 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

and which is agreed to by this place, changes at a whim on the resolution of this place? It is unreasonable. It is not good governance. It is policy on the run.

Mrs Cross: Mr Speaker, on a point of order, under standing order 62, the argument the minister is putting forward is irrelevant. It has nothing to do with the motion of this censure. He is referring to policy; no-one has discussed policy. This has got nothing to do with policy, and he should stay on the topic. It has got nothing to do with whether people like him or not.

MR SPEAKER: Mrs Cross, the Assembly has given Mr Corbell leave to speak on the matter without conditions. I would ask the minister to remain relevant.

MR CORBELL: It is entirely relevant, Mr Speaker, but I will nevertheless accept your ruling. The point I am seeking to make is this: ministers should be censured if they ignore the legislative requirements imposed on this place. They should not be censured for upholding them, and that is what this place will be doing today. Even though I made sure that the tree protection act was applied, the land act was applied and the Territory Plan was applied, I am being censured. That is an absurd proposition, Mr Speaker.

Mrs Cross: So your colleagues are absurd?

MR SPEAKER: Mr Smyth will close the debate. Order, Mrs Cross!

MR SMYTH (Leader of Opposition) (4.13), in reply: The weak and feeble arguments of the government highlight the little support that Mr Corbell has for ignoring the motion of the Assembly. Mr Corbell said he did not want to go through with a sham, because he knew what the answer was. How could he know what the answer was if he hadn't asked the question? That is the crux of this: he did not make the effort. He did not try to implement the will of the Assembly. If you don't try, you don't know. He throws up this smokescreen of, "But I am only implementing the tree legislation and the land act."

I remind Mr Corbell of his charge about protecting the land at Mawson, which was zoned as residential. By his logic, I, as minister, could have gone ahead and sold that land and developed it as per the conditions set out in the Assembly. But we had debate about it. We had gone through the Assembly and through the community about what we should have done. It was exactly the same with the land at East O'Malley. The land at Conder 48-exactly the same.

By Mr Corbell's logic that land is zoned residential and I should ignore all the outside influences that come to me here because it is in the policy. That has to be the daftest defence I have ever heard of inactivity. The logic of it is normally as follows. If the Assembly calls on, directs or asks the executive to do something, you are obliged to attempt to bring about what the Assembly has asked. If you can't, you come back and explain to the Assembly what you have done-"I talked to the guy; the guy said, 'No, it is unreasonable, I do not have the money,' "or "I can't do it."

The minister did not even try. You come back and you seek guidance. You come back and you say, to debunk Mr Stanhope's defence, "We did not have the money."As Ms Tucker rightly points out, the previous government did not have money appropriated for a Gallop inquiry, and we found ways to fund and carry out the will of the Assembly.

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