Page 4560 - Week 14 - Wednesday, 23 November 2005

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That has been a failure of this government, whether it has been with the SAAP agreement, the commonwealth-state housing agreement, the commonwealth-state Medicare agreement or the national training agreement.

I want to touch also on the issue of whaling. The Chief Minister was in high dudgeon on that. He was a bit like Captain Nemo, really; the downfall of Captain Nemo was extreme pride. In a sense, there has been a little inconsistency here, but what happened on this occasion is that the Chief Minister did go out and make a national splash, or attempt to make a national splash, in spouting off about whaling and saying that the commonwealth minister should do more to stop the Japanese whaling.

The Chief Minister put out a press release. He put out a national statement with all his state Labor counterparts, all of them bagging Ian Campbell for not doing enough. But when Senator Campbell asked the Chief Minister to do one simple thing to show that he was prepared to do something and to help the campaign by spreading the word, not just to the Japanese government, but to institutions, municipalities and regional governments across Japan, no, the Chief Minister could not do it.

What was the argument he used? It was that Nara is a landlocked city so it does not have any interest in whaling. I wonder whether it is the case that in that landlocked city no-one eats whale meat. I suspect that it is part of the diet of the people of Nara. That is why the Chief Minister should have done the simple thing, the courteous thing, of supporting the commonwealth minister for the environment. He is the ACT Minister for the Environment.

The Chief Minister could not help himself; he had to naysay because the commonwealth minister for the environment said, “Could you please do this as this would help our case?” The Chief Minister could not possibly bring himself to do anything to support the commonwealth minister. It is interesting that one of the staff members of the commonwealth minister said to me, “He can get out on the international stage on absolutely anything but when we asked him to do this simple thing he could not do it.” It is all about picking and choosing the causes. Let us be consistent. I agree with Ms MacDonald that we need to be consistent on these things. If you want to take to the national stage, by all means do it in a measured way, but do not forget the people at home. At the same time, if you are going to take to the national stage, do it consistently.

Mr Stanhope was asked to take a national and international approach on whaling and he would not do it because Ian Campbell asked him to do it, but plenty of other places could do it. Maybe it is because Mr Stanhope does not understand the brutality and the gruesomeness of whaling. I grew up next door to a whaling town and I know how difficult it can be.

MR SPEAKER: Order! The member’s time has expired.

Industrial relations

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella) (6.10): Yesterday, the Senate Employment, Workplace Relations and Education Legislation Committee handed down its report on the provisions of the Workplace Relations Amendment (Work Choices) Bill 2005. The committee received over 5,500 submissions. It heard from 105 witnesses who appeared

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