Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 14 Hansard (Wednesday, 23 November 2005) . . Page.. 4490 ..
Mr Mulcahy has discussed the antiterrorism legislation already. We saw the Chief Minister go in talking tough to COAG. We saw him convinced by the arguments of the likes of ASIO and the AFP, accept most of what was put to him, then go away and have a think about it and think, “How can I appease some of my constituency? I will pull a stunt. I will put the legislation out, and I will distance myself from what I had agreed to at COAG.” We see another example there of a partisan attack on what should be a unifying issue. This is an issue on which a number of his state colleagues have distanced themselves from his behaviour.
That kind of thing appeals to some people in the community—I have no doubt—but does it achieve any positive objectives for the ACT? That is what this motion is about today. It is about how there can be a constructive relationship. I put it to the Assembly that those stunts do nothing to build a positive and constructive relationship with the federal government.
Mrs Burke: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: standing order 61, I remind the Chief Minister, interruptions.
MR SPEAKER: Order! Mr Seselja has the floor.
MR SESELJA: Thank you, Mr Speaker. I always enjoy when the Chief Minister and Mr Quinlan are throwing jokes across the chamber. They remind me of those two old men in the Muppet Show who used to sit there on the side, make those jokes and laugh to themselves. It is always very entertaining.
Another example was the Australia Day citizenship ceremony, where people come forward to be made citizens of this country—a proud day for these people. What does Mr Stanhope do? He uses it as a platform, a stunt to attack the Howard government, a partisan attack. It should be a unifying point in our society where we are welcoming new citizens. What does the Chief Minister do? He turns it into an attack. After that he was not able to attend those citizenship ceremonies. In the end, the people of Canberra are the losers in that. We should have the head of our government attending those events. If he cannot be trusted not to turn it into a partisan stunt, then of course the federal government does not have much option. That was very disappointing.
The other particular issue that this Chief Minister has sought to make a lot of political capital out of is the issue of refugees. There have been endless attacks on the Howard government. Debate on the issue of refugees is quite reasonable. We should be scrutinising what the federal government does in this area.
Mr Stanhope: Mr Seselja supports children being locked up!
MR SESELJA: It is interesting, it is fascinating, that the Chief Minister raises that. He came into this chamber and suggested that we on this side are refugee haters and support children being locked up. I am informed that, at the moment, there are no children in detention. When Mr Stanhope was chief-of-staff to Labor Attorney-General Lavarch, how many children were in detention? It was in the hundreds—hundreds of children. Mr Stanhope is constantly preaching to us about his refugee credentials. When he was