Page 126 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 15 February 2006

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .

Mr Stefaniak: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I do not see how the Chief Minister could possibly be expected to answer a question on what anyone in the opposition was thinking or reasons for the opposition doing something. That is hypothetical.

Mr Corbell: On the point of order, the question was: what reasons were provided by Mr Smyth to Mr Stanhope? Mr Stanhope is aware of those and can answer the question.

MR SPEAKER: I understand, from the reports in the paper, there was an exchange of letters.

Mr Stefaniak: I would ask Ms Porter to read the last part of the question again. Quite clearly, she is asking for an opinion that only the Leader of the Opposition can give.

MR SPEAKER: I do not know. I am happy to have the member ask the question again. It seemed to me she was asking about the specific reasons. Ms Porter, would you like to read that again?

MS PORTER: Chief Minister, can you say what reasons the opposition leader offered for this decision?

MR STANHOPE: The question is reasonable. The reasons given, of course, are entirely unreasonable, if not petulant. I have some difficulties providing the explanation which the member requires because the letter is short, terse, rude and amazingly petulant. The letter concludes—and this really gives some insight into the dreadful position the Leader of the Opposition is in—“I have no difficulty in discussing ACT matters with the Prime Minister and his office at any time and have no need to use your office to gain his attention.”

That is the reason why the Leader of the Opposition has abandoned his commitment to self-government and to self-determination and why the Leader of the Opposition is not prepared to stand up and ensure that his constituents, the people of Canberra, are not treated in this derisory, second-class way, which is reflected in any attitude which says to the world at large, which says to the Prime Minister and the federal parliament and which says, in fact, to the people of Canberra, “You do not and should not have the right to determine for yourself issues as simple and as basic as how many ministers should sit in a government.”

The Leader of the Opposition and the Liberal Party in the ACT do not believe that the people of the ACT, through their elected representatives, should be able to take this most profound decision on how many ministers shall we have, how many elected representatives shall we have and how many politicians should there be in the ACT Legislative Assembly to represent the people of the ACT. This is far too difficult; this is too complex for the people of the ACT or for this particular parliament. Let us ask the Prime Minister and the federal parliament to decide these weighty issues for us. No other parliament in Australia does!

The Northern Territory Chief Minister does not have to run cap in hand to the Prime Minister of the nation, to the federal parliament, and say, “Prime Minister, I have 220,000 people; I have 25 elected representatives; I have 200 local government

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .