Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 12 Hansard (18 November) . . Page.. 4176 ..
MR QUINLAN (continuing):
I do take this place seriously, but if we are to take ourselves seriously we do need to maintain a perspective on ourselves. For God's sake, if we are to hold our heads up in the public forum, let's demonstrate to the people of the ACT that we are mature, that we are balanced, that we can filter what is serious from what is trivial. I challenge any of you to take this out into any group in the community and discuss it and not get a dismissive reaction, with people saying, "Haven't you people got anything better to do than to argue about whether you're going to get your figures today or tomorrow or whether the minister does what he's told in a committee?"Can we please show some maturity in this place? There have been in this place debates on lack of confidence, of censure. Let me say that to this point they have had a serious element to them. This one does not.
MRS CROSS (11.28): Mr Speaker, I move the following amendment:
Omit 'a lack of confidence', substitute 'grave concern'.
Mr Speaker, a motion of no confidence is a very serious motion and I understand the sentiment of the motion. However, the minister did apologise, albeit at the 11th hour-in fact, one minute to midnight. The committee did note that. It does need to be noted by this Assembly that the minister needs to learn that this Assembly is not interested in being treated badly. He has been found to be in contempt by an Assembly committee and that is a very serious matter. This is not the first time that this minister has been found to be wanting in his approach to his duties in this place. However, I should point out that I for one can count and I do feel that the amendment that I have moved is more appropriate as the committee did recommend that no further action be taken.
I did find a little amusing what Mr Quinlan said about the community's concern about moving motions such as this one, given that my understanding from going back in Hansard to when Mr Quinlan was in opposition is that there were a number of no confidence and censure motions and the like. They were done on such a regular basis as to debase the value of a censure motion and a no confidence motion, so it was a little bit like the pot calling the kettle black. I feel that the amendment I have circulated will address the grave concerns that we have with Mr Corbell's actions and that it should suffice.
MR CORBELL (Minister for Health and Minister for Planing) (11.30): Mr Speaker, I made an error of judgment and I accept that. I have apologised to the Assembly and to the committee for that. I take the finding in the committee report very seriously and it is a fact that I would rather not be in this situation today.
The decision that the Assembly takes in relation to this motion is a matter for the Assembly and I will, of course, accept that decision. I am not going to seek to enter into the politics of this discussion. I think that the facts are clear. People understand what occurred and they have to make a decision in their own minds as what is the most appropriate course of action.
For me, when I reviewed the situation, I felt that it was appropriate to apologise. I have reiterated that to the committee. It was a human error on my part and something which I regret. But it is up to the Assembly itself to decide on the most appropriate course of