Page 1032 - Week 04 - Tuesday, 15 March 2005

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failed to keep up to date with Mr Kennett’s stationery. We start to wonder what correspondence Mr Corbell will read us next—perhaps a detailed report of the magnificent treatment of one of his staff member’s wayward poodles at the pound, or an account of the protocols of the elders of the Lions Club complaining of the number of New South Wales Rotarians clogging up the camp hospitals, or perhaps a do-it-yourself guide to automatic writing. That would explain some of the quality of most Labor Party prose. Subterfuge is a well-established tradition in the ALP. As Zenoviev himself might have put it, and comrades Lenin and Stalin most certainly did, morality and ordinary decency are bourgeois concepts, forms of false consciousness.

The Corbell letter of last week will not go down in history at all. It was a childish attempt at scoring a political point that was not even particularly cheap. It was, and remains, indicative of the contempt in which the Stanhope government holds this Assembly and the people of Canberra, and one can only hope that in the future the children of government staffers keep away from the monkey bars.

Planning system—constituent feedback

MR SESELJA (Molonglo) (4.47): Mr Speaker, I would like to read a letter from a constituent:

Dear Mr Seselja, I am writing to you today to voice my concern about the present state of the ACT planning system. In my professional capacity I regularly deal with letters and phone calls from members of the public affected by the decisions of the ACT Planning and Land Authority, the Land Development Agency and other government agencies. While Mr Corbell continues to preside over these agencies, I am worried that the government’s lack of direction and inability to make decisions in a timely manner will be further prolonged to the detriment of all Canberrans.

My purpose in writing this letter is to enable you to stand in an adjournment debate, read it out to the chamber and on to the Assembly record, present it as a legitimate letter from a concerned constituent, and then refuse to table it when you are caught out representing letters from your own party’s staff as genuine, independent community correspondence.

I wonder whether this new practice of using letters written by members of staff was what the Labor Party had in mind when, in their 2001 election plan for “good government” they spoke of “having the courage to allow themselves to be closely scrutinised.” Perhaps Mr Corbell’s refusal last week to table the letter from one of the Government’s own staff members indicates just what “close scrutiny” means in Stanhopese.

This whole affair is yet another example of an arrogant, tired government that believes it is now “untouchable”, thinks it can do whatever it likes, and has forgotten its role is to serve the people of the ACT, not to try deluding them with schoolboy subterfuge.

Best regards,

Your very own adviser

Justin De Domenico.

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