Page 3921 - Week 12 - Thursday, 20 October 2005

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best interests of the Assembly or of governance within the territory, and I do urge the Liberal Party to sort their problems out.

Mrs Burke: You’ve got enough of your own to sort out, Jon. You look after yourself.

MR STANHOPE: Well, I do. Such is my respect for the role of the opposition in a democracy, we, as a government want a good opposition in this place. The people of Canberra want and deserve a good opposition. We do not agree with you; we never will. We are divided by policy, ideology and a whole range of values, but we respect absolutely the importance of a united, strong, coherent opposition, and the people of Canberra deserve one. So sort your problems out. This cannot go on. Either get behind your leader or find another one. Stop mucking around. Do the right thing by the people of Canberra. It is embarrassing in the first place to have a leader publicly humiliate a frontbench opposition spokesperson in the way that the Leader of the Opposition has humiliated Mrs Dunne. But then for the party room to return the compliment two days later and to humiliate its leader in this way—forcing him to back down, on a threat of public humiliation on the vote—really is pretty grim, and we all know it.

MS MacDONALD (Brindabella) (11.17): I will not be long. I just wanted to mention a couple of things. It is interesting to note this change that has come about in the last two days. Mr Hargreaves has pointed out the historical aspects of payment to the position of opposition whip and government whip—the fact that neither the manager of government business nor the manager of opposition business gets paid in that capacity. It brings to my mind the fact that the line between my role and that of the manager of government business is very well delineated. Mr Stanhope has just been speaking about the Liberal Party getting their issues sorted out, and I certainly hope that they do.

As an example of the disarray, yesterday, within the space of five minutes, just before we went to the adjournment debate, I was visited by both the new opposition whip and the new manager of opposition business, speaking about what was going on in this place, which had us running around in total confusion as to what was going on. I would respectfully suggest that maybe the opposition whip and the manager of opposition business should turn around and look at each other and start talking to each other a little bit more so that they can keep the Assembly well informed of what is going on. Otherwise, we will end up with a situation of total disarray.

I am prepared to accept that both the manager of opposition business and the opposition whip are new to their positions. I am still feeling relatively new to the position of government whip myself, and I know that in the past almost 12 months I have made a few mistakes in this place as government whip, and I have on those occasions apologised to my colleagues when it has put them out of sorts, and certainly I have made apologies to the admin and procedure committee.

It is at this point that I would like to pay tribute to Mrs Dunne for the role that she filled while she was on the admin and procedure committee, and I do mean this sincerely. It is very easy to stand in this place and take a swipe at people, but I have to say that Mrs Dunne has been in the position of opposition whip for about three years. Mr Stefaniak did it for a little time, I believe, when I was first elected as a member, so it is not quite four full years. Although I am not ever going to necessarily agree with the opposition point of view, as I said yesterday I respect the role that the opposition—and

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