Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 10 Hansard (24 September) . . Page.. 3647 ..
MRS DUNNE (continuing):
(6) calls on the ACT Government to make every effort to secure a Service Level Agreement with NSW providing for appropriate services as soon as possible to replace a previous agreement between the Commonwealth Government and NSW; and
(7) considers that an appropriate service includes a morning train service from Canberra to Sydney and a return evening train service from Sydney to Canberra.
Mr Speaker, when Walter Burley Griffin designed Canberra, a train station and train lines were a part of his design. He understood the critical importance of rail links to the rest of the nation for this nation's capital. If he had heard nearly a century later that the New South Wales government had let the service run down to the extent that the service would not be available during August and April 2003, he would have been astonished at their poor management. The thought that they would seriously put forward a proposal to replace the train service with a bus service would have left him flabbergasted. The fact that the ACT government would let this take place with hardly a word of protest would have amazed him.
In Bathurst on the weekend, Labor member Mark Latham gave the annual "light on the hill"speech, in the course of which he claimed that the ALP was, essentially, the same party as when Ben Chifley was Prime Minister. In reading his speech, I asked myself what Ben Chifley, Australia's most famous train driver, would make of this decision to cut train services to Canberra. The Labor Party is fond of reinventing its history, but I was a little surprised to hear Mark Latham's description of Chifley that he was not, in fact, a working class hero, much less "covered in soot". He said:
The engine drivers of the early 20th century were highly skilled and responsible workers-
who said they aren't today?-
the equivalent of airline pilots today. Their employment gave them considerable social status.
Let's go back to the source. Let's go back to Ben Chifley and see what he said about the light on the hill. In that famous speech about the light on the hill, he said:
I try to think of the Labour movement, not as putting an extra sixpence into somebody's pocket, or making somebody Prime Minister or Premier, but as a movement bringing something better to people, better standards of living, greater happiness to the mass of the people. We have a great objective-the light on the hill-which we aim to reach by working for the betterment of mankind not only here but anywhere we may give a helping hand.
I do not know about you, Mr Deputy Speaker, but it seems to me that in the matter of CountryLink services Bob Carr is showing himself to be more interested in being the Premier or Prime Minister. Ideally, I think he would like to be both. But what is he doing about bringing something better to the people?