Page 3715 - Week 12 - Tuesday, 18 October 2005

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beard the other lions in their den of COAG and tell the Prime Minister how it was, who was going to stand up to all the premiers and the other chief ministers and say, “No way; we are not going to do this. We think this is too draconian. I need convincing.”

He got convinced and he emerged from that meeting almost ashen faced. He had to agree with everybody. There he was: “Yes, we have been convinced. I have the evidence now and I am going to go along with this.” All the other premiers who signed up to this have kept their word and are working with the federal government to ensure that we have a unified defence against terrorism through this legislation across the entire country. Not to have a unified defence, not to have a defence consistent across all jurisdictions, of course leaves the back door open.

The problem with what this Chief Minister has done and the reason he deserves censure is that he has acted recklessly in a sort of hot-blooded rush and said, “Put it on the web, put it out for consultation.” None of the other premiers have felt the need to do this. None of the other premiers have exposed their states. None of the other premiers have betrayed the agreement they reached in solidarity at COAG, and none of the other premiers have felt the need to go it alone. Why? Because there is no need. Why? Because they all understand the need for uniform legislation. So we should censure the Chief Minister for his recklessness in publishing the draft-in-confidence legislation and for the exposure that he has put the ACT through.

MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment and Minister for Arts, Heritage and Indigenous Affairs) (10.47): I am pleased to debate this motion today, to the extent that it is always a pleasure for a Leader of the Opposition to be seen to display his complete ineptitude in the way Mr Smyth has just done. It is interesting that this is now the weekly censure motion. I think this is the fifth or sixth censure motion of me this year. It really is now a weekly event.

Mr Quinlan: How do you spell “weekly”?

MR STANHOPE: That is right—a very weak weekly event. I think the week following the minor or petty implosion within the Liberal Party party room puts into perspective the fractures that are appearing. I must say it is a matter of some regret to us that the immediate past manager of opposition business is not in the Assembly with us today and that the whip is absent, although I would like to congratulate Mrs Burke on her elevation. One does, of course, hope that Mrs Burke is not ambushed in the same way that her predecessor was by her leader.

Not only do we on this side of the chamber think that the weekly censure motion will continue into the future but we are also awaiting with great expectation the weekly leadership challenge once Mr Mulcahy finds the courage—supported, as we know he is, by almost the entire rank and file of the Liberal Party—to do something about a leader that they know simply cannot cut the ice. I think the time is right. I have money on you, Mr Mulcahy—before Christmas was my bet. In the book being run in the caucus I have you going before Christmas, so do not let me down.

MR SPEAKER: Order, Chief Minister! Come back to the point of the motion, please.

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