Page 4582 - Week 14 - Thursday, 24 November 2005

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Chapman. What happened in Duffy, the other suburb at the front? On the basis of this assault on the Chief Minister’s dreadful behaviour and the failings of the government, goodness me, surely the people of Duffy would have punished us at the ballot box. What did they do? Eight point six per cent more of them voted for us than they did in the previous election. In Holder, the suburb next affected—these are massive swings in any electorate in any election—there was a swing to the government of 8.4 per cent. In Rivett, there was a swing to the government of 8.3 per cent. In Weston Creek, there was a swing to the government of 9.8 per cent. There was a 10 per cent swing to the government in that affected suburb.

And you stand up here and rail, “We are being constantly approached by people upset with the Chief Minister and upset with the government in relation to the fire.” That is simply not true. There is one great test of what people think of a government, and it is the test at the ballot box. In relation to these issues, which you stand up in here and rail about, the people of Canberra have said, “You passed the test,” to the extent that 10 per cent more people in Weston Creek voted for us—the biggest swing in Canberra. It is not just a significant swing by itself; it is a vote about you, of course. It is a vote about us, but it is also a vote about you; it is a reflection of what the people of Canberra think of you. Ten per cent more people voted for us in Weston Creek after the fire than they did before the fire.

Have you stopped to pause and think why that was? Have you stopped to pause and ask yourself, “Why was the biggest swing that this government achieved in 2004”—and it was a significant swing across the board—“achieved at Weston Creek, Chapman and Duffy?” It is a commentary on you. It is a commentary on the appalling, putrid politics that you have played with this issue. The people of Duffy and the people of Chapman know about the way that you are using and abusing them, what they honestly think and what they honestly seek to achieve. And it is not what you are seeking to achieve; it is not the continual sowing of dissention—

Mr Pratt interjecting—

MR SPEAKER: Don’t be tempted, Mr Pratt. I will name you.

MR STANHOPE: It is not the continued prostitution of them and their grief that you are involved in. They are sending you a big signal through the ballot box that they do not like what you are doing; they do not like the way in which you are abusing this issue for your shallow, short-term, putrid, political ends. And nor does the rest of Canberra.

Mr Stefaniak: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: the word “putrid”.

MR SPEAKER: It is a reflection on the attitudes of—

MR STANHOPE: I was referring to the party.

MR SPEAKER: It is strong language, but I would not rule it to be unparliamentary. It is a reflection on the position of people with an opposite view. It is colourful language and it is strong, but I would not say it is unparliamentary.

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