Page 3731 - Week 12 - Tuesday, 18 October 2005
In conclusion, the Chief Minister’s poor judgment and failure to understand his core responsibilities in these challenging times render him unfit to be Chief Minister, but in the interim he deserves at least to be censured.
MRS BURKE (Molonglo) (11.49): I rise to support the motion. Chief Minister, by your actions, your irresponsible actions, you knowingly undermined very sensitive federal government operations and the trust that has been placed upon you as Chief Minister. Your actions will indeed serve as a future reminder to our federal government in its dealings with the ACT government.
At the heart of this motion—the point that seems to have been really missed today—is not why the Chief Minister did what he did but what he did. This is an issue that gets to the heart of process, of protocol. Even Mr Corbell was smiling and saying, “It is about legislation.” But it is about a breach of confidence by Mr Stanhope in his position of Chief Minister, a position of trust—a confidence that he blatantly and flagrantly flouted when he left that room. It is my personal hope, therefore, that the Chief Minister will rise to indicate that if anyone is to accept responsibility for the results of his actions, which, as we have heard in the press, have the serious potential to bar the ACT from future negotiations or dealings with other jurisdictions, it should be him alone.
We as members in this place all know and accept that as a part of our duties we should, wherever possible, seek to uphold civil liberties and, in connection with this principle, the rights and responsibilities of our constituency. The Chief Minister apparently believes he has done the right thing by providing the electorate, and the world no less, with a copy of a piece of draft legislation—legislation that was in confidence and is now most likely also to be out of date, and possibly has been revised to the effect that it is no longer just a working document but closer to reaching finalisation.
Unfortunately, the Chief Minister, in his capacity as leader of the territory, breached usual in-confidence protocols and, according to what we have heard today, he simply could not care less. He has breached the confidence and trust that is placed in him, which has made us all wonder whether we can trust this man again.
In effect, consultation was sought with all states and territories on the matter of firming up the major tenets of anti-terrorism laws in Australia and they will now be passed through federal parliament for debate and discussion. The legislation will not be passed by the ACT Legislative Assembly, despite Mr Stanhope’s remonstrations that it is “our” legislation—or, should I say, “my legislation”. It is simply unparliamentary to believe that as an ACT parliamentarian he should have any further input into this federal debate. This matter should have been dealt with behind closed doors with his state and territory counterparts and kept that way until such time as the full and proper legislation was released to the public.
Sadly, we have a recalcitrant Chief Minister, who does everything he can to avoid full scrutiny on local issues yet is constantly found guilty of overtly interfering in matters that are best left to his federal counterparts, matters that we cannot do anything about in this place. I note with great interest that we have to date had no sign or word or public comment from Mr Stanhope’s colleagues Mr McMullan, Ms Ellis and Senator Lundy on