Page 2365 - Week 08 - Tuesday, 28 June 2005

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MR SPEAKER: When she returns to her seat. Mrs Dunne, will you withdraw that comment that you made?

MRS DUNNE: I did not think, Mr Speaker, it was improper to say that something had been a lie.

MR SPEAKER: I am not going to debate this. I heard you say, “Don’t keep telling lies.” Just withdraw it.

MRS DUNNE: I will withdraw, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Thank you.

Appropriation Bill 2005-2006

Detail stage

[Cognate papers:

Estimates 2005-2006—Select Committee report

Estimates 2005-2006—Select Committee report—government response]

Proposed expenditure—Part 1.4—Chief Minister, $64,088,000 (net cost of outputs), $32,822,000 (capital injection) and $5,842,000 (payments on behalf of the territory), totalling $102,752,000.

Debate resumed.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (3.40): The expenditure in the Chief Minister’s Department ranges over an increasingly diverse variety of activities, from the normal things—a cabinet to support and the running of government, to sustainability, which has been there for some time, to now the addition of the environment and the wonderful thing that could probably be boiled down to the Chief Minister’s pet projects. The Chief Minister’s pet projects are the things that I will concentrate on for some time in my 10 minutes. I will go to the international arboretum and gardens or, as Mr Seselja so adequately called it this morning, the big tree farm.

I cannot get over the incandescent approach of this Chief Minister to this majestic policy, this vision, this icon. Everything that Mr Stanhope wants to put his fingers to has to be iconic. It reinforces everything that the opposition says is wrong with the international arboretum and gardens project. It is a vanity project by the Chief Minister. We know that Mr Stanhope is an avid gardener. I have seen him in his garden. I have seen him at garden centres. I know he likes to potter around in his garden. But the people of the ACT should not be paying a $12 million, and increasing, premium for this man to indulge his personal passions. The Stanhope memorial tree garden, the Prince Jon the magnificent memorial tree garden is what we are having here.

When defending this project in question time, the Chief Minister has said, “There are a whole range of issues around our capacity to deliver the design.” We do not know what we are doing here, the Chief Minister least of all. Sandy Hollway was in the paper yesterday. He is a fine man. His passion for the arboretum was obvious. The prose was purple. It was adulatory. There was a crimson thread of companionship and patriotism running through all our veins manifest by Marion Burley-Griffin’s design. We had it

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