Page 83 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 12 February 2008

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provide any vision of the type of community we want or of what Canberra should be—apart from a “can-do” whirl of photo opportunities and events mismanagement.

That was the fundamental failure of the Carnell-Humphries years—years of wasted opportunity. They eventually became captives of their own lack of substance and paucity of style. The six years of the Carnell-Humphries governments shows up in history as a failure of process. It is a failure of process that left us a legacy of the tragic Canberra Hospital implosion; the Bruce Stadium redevelopment debacle that included breaches of the law and the budget blow-out to end all budget blow-outs; secret deals over land development at Hall-Kinleyside; secret deals over parking at Manuka; a secret overnight loan of $9 million; and scenes of the bizarre—Feel the Power numberplates, painting the grass green at Bruce and building a futsal slab to host circuses.

Those six years have left us a legacy of failure in essential services. It is a legacy highlighted by the Productivity Commission, which said that Carnell-Humphries had squandered the advantage we held over the states in education. I think Mr Stefaniak was education minister for much of that time. That legacy is also highlighted by an ACTCOSS study which found that one in 12 Canberrans lives below nationally recognised poverty levels; cuts to essential social services, such as public housing and mental health services; and unfunded promises such as a promised prison and promised roadwork. It was left to the Stanhope government to fund and deliver these things.

There is no hint that the successors to Carnell and Humphries have gained any insight into or understanding of the failures of the Liberal Party or their irrelevance to the community. The current mob are in opposition and in disarray in all jurisdictions in the nation. The Queensland parliamentary Liberal Party cannot even raise the numbers for a cricket team. We all know that their federal leader is a stopgap solution until he can be rolled. I suspect that the puppet, Mr Seselja, will never be Chief Minister while the puppet master, Mr Smyth, is sitting in the Assembly.

Let us look at a bit more history. In the previous Assembly, the Liberals had two leaders and then disintegrated after internal conflict resulted in a member leaving the party and sitting on the crossbench. In this Assembly, they have had three leaders and expelled a member to sit on the crossbench. Their internal conflicts are ongoing. Each of them—except Mr Stefaniak, who has had his turn—wants to be leader. However, for the sake of appearances, they have put their faith in the most junior and inexperienced member of the team to lead them out of this turmoil.

The question arises: have they learned anything from almost seven years in opposition? They certainly have not learned that the first step to governing, or attempting to take government, is to restore confidence in the process of government, to propose—

Mr Smyth: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: the MPI, in case the minister has missed it, is about “the Stanhope government’s decision-making processes”. For almost four minutes, we have not heard a word about the Stanhope government. If he is embarrassed by it then he should sit down. Perhaps you could invoke relevance, Mr Speaker.

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