Page 3889 - Week 12 - Wednesday, 19 October 2005

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poverty report of the secretary general entitled The centrality of employment to poverty eradication. In section IV on page 12, at item 40 it says:

There is a multifaceted and intricate link between economic, social and political development, human rights and security. Humanity cannot enjoy one in the absence of the other. They are mutually reinforcing and the presence of one enhances the others, thus creating a virtuous cycle of development, security and human rights. Equally, the absence of one poses a serious threat to the others.

I believe it is about removing barriers that will allow individuals to truly have the opportunity to better themselves in all of the areas I have just referred to. There should be real concern about unequal social relations, based on marginalisation, exploitation and exclusion surrounding economic grounds. I put it to members that inequality and exclusion in social relations is of more fundamental concern. If we look at the status of people who are faced with living in poverty, could it be that it is due to some fundamental right such as housing not being afforded to them? Again, I find it quite dismaying that Dr Foskey did not even touch on the basic and fundamental human right of shelter with regard to this. As I have said, I understand it is quite difficult for Dr Foskey to talk on this matter, given her ongoing belief that she has a right to remain in public housing.

We also have the issue of a convicted criminal remaining a public housing tenant. How can we stand in this place, and talk about integrity and stand with credibility to debate issues if we do not set the standard? The government wants the lowest common denominator all the time. They are good at putting out plans; they are good about rhetoric; they are good about the gloss and they are good about standing up there but they are letting their public servants down—people with great ideas who are never heard because somebody above them, like the minister and others, decides, “No, we will not do it that way, we are going to do it this way.” All we have are brochures that gather dust. How many thousands of dollars have we spent on the plans we have? That has been said in this place ad nauseam.

I understand that Dr Foskey wants to bash up the federal government again but, sadly, this does little or nothing today for the people of the ACT. It is conjecture, conjecture, conjecture. Nobody has seen the legislation. All the government wants to do is follow what seem to be template politics around the countryside. But it seems that the ACT has decided to take it a few steps further and have all these silly motions on something we do not know the detail of. How ludicrous; how absurd—and what a waste of time for the ACT taxpayer. It is disgraceful.

MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief minister, Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment and Minister for Arts, Heritage and Indigenous Affairs) (5.19): The government will support Dr Foskey’s motion. I am happy to give some background on the reasons for that. The government supports the eradication of poverty as a worthy goal and indeed has committed itself publicly to addressing poverty in a number of ways, which I will outline.

This notice of motion follows the United Nations International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, held on Monday, 17 October. This day has evolved into an entire week of antipoverty-related activities here in Australia. In the ACT the organisers—Bishop Pat Power, who chaired the ACT poverty task force, and Ms Kerrie Tucker—have done a

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