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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 01 Hansard (Tuesday, 12 February 2008) . . Page.. 1 ..

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

The Assembly met at 10.30 am.

Absence of Speaker

The Clerk informed the Assembly that the Speaker (Mr Berry) was temporarily absent.

MR ACTING SPEAKER (Mr Pratt) took the chair at 10.30 am, made a formal recognition that the Assembly was meeting on the lands of the traditional owners, and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Leader of the Opposition

MR ACTING SPEAKER: I inform the Assembly that, on 13 December 2007, Mr Seselja advised the Speaker that the Liberal Party had elected him as its leader and that he consented to being Leader of the Opposition. I therefore recognise Mr Seselja in accordance with standing order 5A. I table the following correspondence from Mr Seselja:

Leader of the Opposition—Consent—Copy of letter to the Speaker from Mr Seselja, dated 13 December 2007.

MR SESELJA (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition): Mr Acting Speaker, I seek leave to make a statement.

Leave granted.

MR SESELJA: In December last year I had the honour and the privilege of being unanimously elected to lead the Liberal Party in the ACT. It is an honour and responsibility that I take very seriously, and I will give my heart and soul to this important task. I honour those who have gone before me in this role—in particular, my immediate predecessor, Bill Stefaniak.

I take this opportunity to outline to the Assembly and to the community the direction in which I wish to take the Liberal Party in Canberra. I do not believe in opposition for opposition’s sake. I believe the role of an opposition is to scrutinise the performance of government, to keep it accountable for its decisions, to highlight failures, to support and enhance positive initiatives and to put forward a clear alternative vision to the community.

It is also the role of oppositions to fight hard for those left behind by government policy or administration. I believe that oppositions, even when faced with a majority government, are capable of influencing outcomes for the good of the community and leading in such a way as to improve people’s lives on a day-to-day basis. I believe that a solutions focused opposition is best placed to become a solutions focused government. This is, and will continue to be, my approach to the job.

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