Page 317 - Week 01 - Thursday, 14 February 2008

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church choir. I know that John will be sadly missed by the community at Radio 1RPH, by the community at St Michael’s in Kaleen and by his three daughters and three sons. Vale John Coleman.

On another matter, and taking up the issue raised by Mr Mulcahy on government decision making, there was a bit of to-and-fro in the chamber yesterday when I spoke about how I had evolved my views on climate change over 10 years or so. Mr Stanhope took exception to that because we had criticised him for his apparent mind-changing over policy decisions. I would like to put on the record that there is a difference. Perhaps this is one of those funny irregular verbs that goes like this: “I changed my mind after looking at all available material. You are impetuous and he performs policy backflips.” It works like this: if someone contemplates something, reads through something, looks for information, is open to ideas and, over time, you suddenly realise that you have a different position from what you had, that is changing your mind in light of the information available to you. But when, in the case of, say, FireLink, you spend your time saying, “This is a great piece of material, this is a great piece of infrastructure, it’s fantastic, it’s working really well,” and six months later you withdraw it from service, that is a policy backflip—and there is a difference.

We see with things like FireLink, for instance, that they did not have all the information they needed at the outset. They introduced it as a trial and abandoned the trial long before the trial was over. They committed to the money, did not know whether it was going to work, suddenly found out that it was not going to work and, after defending what turned out to be the indefensible for a very long time, they then had a policy backflip.

If the Chief Minister and successive ministers for emergency services had actually done their job, they probably would have walked away from FireLink a lot earlier or they would have seen what the problems were and made contingencies for that. But what we have seen here is a policy backflip that cost the territory millions of dollars, and that is the difference. It is not something considered; it is something that they defended over and over again. And the same goes for pay parking at the hospital: they defended it and defended it and defended the indefensible and, when they suddenly realised it was far too hot, they did a policy backflip. That is not doing as Kenneth Galbraith suggested and considering all the new information that comes before you. The only new information that came before them was that they knew it was hideously unpopular.

National Multicultural Festival

MR PRATT (Brindabella) (6.17): I rise briefly tonight to herald and congratulate the Multicultural Community Forum for its multicultural ball held last night, which is now becoming, for that particular group, a red-letter event on the multicultural festival program. It is pleasing to see that the multicultural forum as an organisation has now matured. It gets stronger and stronger and seems to be able to represent some of the disparate groups within the multicultural arena far more effectively than perhaps some other groups have done in the past. So I congratulate them. The way that the ball went last night was clearly an expression of their organisation and their ability to be able to run these sorts of events. I presume the minister and the Office of Multicultural Affairs would be looking to that organisation to run a few other things in the future.

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