Page 3711 - Week 12 - Tuesday, 18 October 2005

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Tuesday, 18 October 2005

MR SPEAKER (Mr Berry) took the chair at 10.30 am, made a formal recognition that the Assembly was meeting on the lands of the traditional owners, and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Chief Minister

Motion of censure

MR SMYTH (Brindabella—Leader of the Opposition) (10.31): I seek leave to move a motion censuring the Chief Minister.

Leave granted.

MR SMYTH: I move:

That this Assembly censures the Chief Minister for his recklessness in publishing the draft-in-confidence Anti-Terrorism Bill, an action that has jeopardised the faith and goodwill of other State and Territory leaders, as well as the Commonwealth, and embarrassed the ACT and exposed it to ridicule.

When censure is deserved it is important that it is moved immediately. That is why this morning, as we start the sitting week, I move the censure of this Chief Minister. The question is this: we have a Chief Minister who paraded around like a lion that he was not going to be rolled in the COAG meeting; he was going to go forward and stand for civil liberties; he was going to go forward and put the case of the ACT; he was not going to be perturbed or disturbed or moved from his course.

Yet the lion that went into the COAG meeting emerged like a lamb, ashen faced. He had been told the story of what was needed and he was now in agreement. The Chief Minister signed up, as did all the other premiers and the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory, to the anti-terror legislation. He agreed. He said he had been convinced that this legislation should go forward. But the Chief Minister, who was so concerned about this legislation, who did not front his Labor colleagues, did not look the Prime Minister in the eye and say, “No way. This is never going to happen—not while I am the Chief Minister.”

He came back to the ACT Assembly and decided that he did not like it, that he was going to do it his way, that he was going to grandstand and put out there the case that this was too draconian, even though he had signed up to it in the COAG meeting. He felt so strongly about this legislation that he then chose to release, on Friday, a confidential draft. Not only did he release the confidential draft—a draft given to him and to all premiers and the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory in confidence; he also posted it to the worldwide web for all to see, saying that this was to encourage discussion and public consultation.

If that was how he felt, why on earth did he sign up to it in the first place? We have quotes from Premier Bracks and Premier Iemma saying that what was promised in the meeting is what is being delivered and that they will work with the commonwealth to

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