Page 3919 - Week 12 - Thursday, 20 October 2005

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express their concerns and their opposition to Mr Smyth’s proposed appointment if this matter came to a vote in this place. I think perhaps that has a lot more to do with it. Indeed, I would invite some of the members who have concerns on this matter to voice them. I think it would be valuable in particular if Mrs Dunne were to advise us of whether or not she is still happy to relinquish her position on the Standing Committee on Administration and Procedure, because it is an important role and Mrs Dunne does have some experience in these matters having now had one and a bit terms in this place. She has a strong grasp of these matters. We do not agree with each other on all of these matters—Mrs Dunne will be very familiar with that—but at least she has an understanding of them.

The person now being proposed as the representative of the Liberal Party on the Standing Committee on Administration and Procedure, Mrs Burke, is the same member who on Tuesday asked the Minister for Children, Youth and Family Support to move that a paper be noted that she had presented. Normally when you ask for that to happen it is either because you want to adjourn the debate or so that you can speak to the motion. But what did Mrs Burke do after she convinced the minister to move that the paper be noted? She just voted that it be noted. She did not speak; she did not even adjourn it. She said, “Thanks very much,” and away she went. That was a piece of tactical genius if ever I have seen one. I am not quite sure exactly what it was meant to achieve. I think it was so subtle that it went over my head. You really do have to wonder how we are going to go in admin and procedure with Mrs Burke in that role, but we will give her the benefit of the doubt, and we will look forward to further nuances of tactical genius from the new opposition whip when it comes to the standing orders in this place.

But the real issue that needs to be asked here is: why did Mr Smyth change his mind? And why did he decide that Mrs Burke and not Mr Seselja should go on this committee? I think it is fairly clear to all in this place that what is really happening is that we have a Liberal Party in absolute turmoil; a Liberal Party biting, fighting and scratching amongst themselves, unclear as to their future direction. The leader is so desperate to maintain his position that he had to back down on his decision in the last couple of days as to whom he would appoint as the representative on the Standing Committee on Administration and Procedure, because of turmoil, unrest and dissension in his ranks.

The bottom line is that the government will support whomever the Liberal Party nominates to this role; that is the convention in this place and we will respect it. But I am afraid that for Mr Smyth this only puts off the fateful hour.

MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment and Minister for Arts, Heritage and Indigenous Affairs) (11.10): I wish to speak very briefly to the amendment. Mr Corbell has made some points, and made them well, in relation to this. It really is passing strange that within the space of two days we had the decisive action of removing Mrs Dunne from her role. We need to recall that this motion was precipitated by a need for the Leader of the Opposition to discipline one of his colleagues—for an act that has yet to be explained to the Assembly, or fully explained to the community. I believe that through this process Mrs Dunne is to be, formally, further disciplined, and on this occasion with the assistance of the Assembly as a whole.

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