Page 3728 - Week 12 - Tuesday, 18 October 2005
MR SPEAKER: Mr Pratt, as a serial interjector today, it is a bit rich of you, but I agree with you. Order, Chief Minister!
MR PRATT: Thank you, Mr Speaker. The Chief Minister’s first responsibility as the leader of the ACT is his duty of care for the protection and collective safety of the citizens of the ACT. That is the prime duty of all parliamentary leaders. Traditionally, it has been so, and always will be.
The Chief Minister, who should be honoured to carry that title but who demonstrates by his actions that he does not uphold his responsibilities, has been blindsided by the tendency to radicalism that he has demonstrated in this place repeatedly over four years. When put to the big test, this failure of responsibility has been starkly demonstrated.
In recent months, the Chief Minister has failed to show consistent leadership and solidarity of purpose with the uncomfortable, sensitive and difficulty subject of security in the ACT, particularly in the wake of the London bombings. He does not understand his core responsibilities. Mr Speaker, I will come back to the security issues later in this speech. Let me focus now on the immediate issue at hand, Mr Stanhope’s leaking of confidential draft federal legislation.
Let’s look at what Mr Stanhope’s colleagues think of that type of practice. On 15 February, the Chief Minister’s own Treasurer, Mr Quinlan, was recorded as saying in this Assembly:
It just happens that, in this day and age, everybody has agreed that there is certain information that needs to be held confidential and it is, at the end of the day, the government’s responsibility to administer that confidentiality.
Yes, it is the government’s responsibility to administer that confidentiality, yet the Chief Minister goes against his government’s beliefs on this subject. Premier Steve Bracks was also quoted as saying on 2CC radio yesterday, “Mr Stanhope should respect the sovereignty of cabinet.”
Mr Stanhope: Who said that?
MR PRATT: Steve Bracks. Clearly, Mr Stanhope does not understand the meaning of respecting the sovereignty of cabinet, whether that is at a local or national level. Therefore, he cannot be trusted—you cannot be trusted, Mr Stanhope—with any sensitive information distributed at any level.
Mr Speaker, let us look at the views of some of the other Labor leaders who attended the COAG counter-terrorism summit. I refer to the PM program of last evening. Mark Colvin stated:
If Mr Stanhope was hoping to get the sympathy of the other state Labor leaders he has sorely been disappointed.
Premier Beattie said on that program: