Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 10 Hansard (24 September) . . Page.. 3609 ..
Mrs Dunne: My original point of order is that the Chief Minister is in breach of 118 (a). He is debating the subject, rather than answering the question.
MR SPEAKER: He was asked questions about the indigenous community. That is his ministerial responsibility. I invite him to continue with his answer.
MR STANHOPE: Thank you, Mr Speaker. I will conclude by repeating the point I made. I am constantly surprised and, I guess, staggered whenever I see that anybody from the Liberal Party dares to stand in any parliament of Australia and upbraid the Labor Party on anything to do with indigenous issues, having regard to the absolutely appalling response by the Liberal Party to reconciliation and issues around indigenous welfare and wellbeing in Australia. It really is quite staggering.
Mr Cornwell: Mr Speaker, I wish to raise a point of order. The Chief Minister is now debating the matter. Sit down when I am on my feet with a point of order, please!
MR SPEAKER: Order! Resume your seat, please, Chief Minister. Mr Cornwell, I will be the one who invites people to sit down. What is your point of order?
Mr Cornwell: My point of order relates to standing order 118 (b)-that the Chief Minister is now debating the matter again, sir.
MR SPEAKER: The Chief Minister is addressing a question which was raised by Mr Stefaniak in relation to indigenous people. He now indicates that he has concluded.
MR STEFANIAK: Chief Minister, you mentioned a Mr Woodward. The article was actually by a Meaghan Shaw. The acting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission chairman, Lionel Quartermaine, made the comments, not some public servant. He did urge all government leaders to ensure the issue was not obstructed by differences over issues such as health funding.
My question is: why, then, did you let down indigenous Australians by pulling a stunt at COAG?
MR STANHOPE: Mr Speaker, neither I nor any of my Labor colleagues let down indigenous people in any way by any action that we took at COAG. As I indicated before, each of the Labor leaders acted responsibly in relation to these issues. We considered them separate to matters in relation to health and the Murray Darling Basin. We committed to the actions outlined in the agenda papers in relation to each of the other items, including that relating to issues around violence within indigenous communities. Indeed, this is a most serious issue. Issues around continuing indigenous disadvantage are issues of continuing concern-I have said it often and I will say it again-and of continuing shame to Australia.
It is not the Labor Party that purports to adopt the black armband view of history in relation to indigenous affairs; it is you and you colleagues, Mr Stefaniak; it is the Liberal Party; it is the conservatives in Australia that refuse to say sorry. It is you, your Liberal colleagues and the conservatives in Australia that refuse to commit to reconciliation. It is you and your colleagues who refuse to acknowledge two centuries of disadvantage and