Page 538 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 16 February 2005

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to do. He is seeking to bully the newcomer—and I am aware of that; I understand that. This is what goes on in politics. I can understand it. Bullying is often a result of the bully’s own feelings of inadequacy, and I am sure that the Chief Minister would not have liked me having to explain in the last sitting of parliament the differences between sub judice, on the one hand, and contempt, on the other. In fact, in my very first question in the chamber, the Chief Minister sought to hide behind the sub judice rule but was overruled.

I refer the house to page 41 of Hansard, 8 December 2004, when Mr Stanhope claimed that Mr Smyth had breached the sub judice rule on radio. Of course, sub judice only exists in parliament; so just a quick lesson for the Attorney-General—an easy way to remember: sub judice, in the chamber; contempt, outside the chamber. It is a pretty simple rule. Maybe he can remember it from here on in.

I guess we have heard the saying, “People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.” Others would say, “People with glass jaws shouldn’t throw stones.” When you do not know the basic legal principles, such as the meaning of sub judice, when you say in this house things like, “All public housing tenants can buy their own property,” it is a bit rich to be lecturing others. And you certainly do not do it with much credibility.

But let it not be said that I am not open to learning. I just wanted to reflect on what I might be able to learn from this government. There is, of course, how not to make a decision with a dam; how to preside over a failing health system; how to preside over a planning system labelled by union officials as the worst in the country; how to preside over a child protection system where the law is not complied with.

We saw an amazing display today, an amazing example, in the house today of ministers not answering questions, ministers refusing to answer simple questions. And if that’s going to be the way the government does this, then certainly we will learn a lot, I am sure. I will just say this to the Chief Minister, “Your bluster and obfuscation and the bluster of your ministry will not deter me, nor my colleagues, from pursuing the government in this place, from keeping them accountable in the way that the people of the ACT would expect.”

Action bus service—school routes

MR MULCAHY (Molonglo) (6.18): Mr Speaker, I wish to raise a matter that relates to representations from parents of students at Radford College who are resident within Tuggeranong, Woden and Weston Creek. It concerns the issue of transport to and from their school, and I thought it appropriate to draw it to the attention of the Assembly and the minister in the hope that we might be able to get an early resolution.

I am informed by a group of parents who have taken this matter to me that, on Tuesday of this week, the issue of overcrowding on their buses hit a crisis point. A number of students could not get on buses at all because of inadequate services provided from the Woden interchange. Radford parents in the Weston Creek and Tuggeranong areas in particular appreciate that scheduling is not an easy task, but I think we are aware this is not a new problem.

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