Page 4491 - Week 14 - Wednesday, 23 November 2005
chief-of-staff to the Labor Attorney-General hundreds of children were locked up in detention centres—hundreds of children.
What did the chief-of-staff to the Attorney-General do then? Did he resign in protest? Did he rail against this terrible policy of locking up children? No, not a word, no resignation. He came in here in 1993, after this policy had been put into place. This highlights the hypocrisy of this Chief Minister. He is happy to make points against the federal government, but the facts speak for themselves.
At the moment we have no children locked up, which is very good. Under the government Mr Stanhope worked for—and he was chief-of-staff, a senior position, to a senior cabinet minister—there were hundreds of children and families locked up, hundreds of people in long-term detention. So his credentials on this are very weak. That hypocrisy is borne out often by what the Chief Minister has to say. It undermines his credibility when he is attacking the federal government. There are times when he should be going after the federal government, but you undermine your credibility when you go after them on virtually everything and when you do it in the context of issues like the refugee issues where your own background and your own credentials are not that good and your own record is not that strong.
That brings me to the kind of impact this has. The Chief Minister is finding it harder to have dealings with the federal government because they do not take him seriously, unfortunately, because of all the attacks. This is where this motion is important. It is about how we can build positive relationships with the federal government for the benefit of the people of the ACT. It is not about whether it is a Labor or a Liberal federal government; it is about the fact that it is a federal government that is still the most significant player in the ACT in terms of its economy, jobs and other areas. To ignore them or attack them is not going to help the people of Canberra.
Look at some of the major infrastructure needs that this territory has. We have seen the issue of road funding just this week. I do not know what the Chief Minister’s views on it were, but Mr Hargreaves said, “We are not going to be able to do all these other road projects because the GDE has blown out.” Part of that GDE blow-out was due to this government, as Mr Mulcahy put it, stuffing around for 18 months over a route that they knew was never going to get up, in order to make a political point. What we are seeing is a massive blow-out in spending.
We need infrastructure. This is the national capital. The federal government has an interest in partially funding some of that infrastructure, particularly road infrastructure like the Majura Parkway. We are unlikely to see that for many years now because of the mismanagement of this government. We are unlikely to see the federal government acting favourably towards this current government if they continue to throw things out there that are normally untrue or if they commit the stunts that we have seen from this Chief Minister over a period of time. These upgrades, these pieces of infrastructure that we will be seeking federal government funding for, are less likely under this government with its current attitude.
This motion calls on the ACT government to work more constructively to enhance opportunities for the territory. It is not about the Chief Minister; it is not about this particular Labor ACT government. It is about the people of the territory. There are times