Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 03 Hansard (Wednesday, 2 April 2008) . . Page.. 875 ..
cooperate around the smooth flow of business in this place. Today the Liberals have been found sadly lacking in that regard.
MR MULCAHY (Molonglo) (3.59): I rise to support the motion by Dr Foskey. The word “underhand” is not one I use lightly, but, as has been pointed out by the previous speakers, on this occasion I am afraid it is the only one that really can adequately describe what the Liberal opposition has done. It has been handled in a sneaky, deceptive and underhand fashion. It then begs the question: why do you have to take that approach? We have seen some fairly sloppy handling of legislation, as was highlighted in an earlier debate this week where there was no consultation by the shadow Attorney-General, but I just put that down to work ethic. I hear Dr Foskey’s theory of what this is all about today.
Mr Smyth: Where have you been for the last three weeks? Interesting concept—Richard, work ethic.
MR MULCAHY: Well, Mr Smyth makes jokes about my work ethic. I would be happy to stack my effort up against what he accomplishes. Dr Foskey makes the valid point that there is another reason for this, and she has hypothesised that it is related to the motion on the airport. I am not sure that that is the case, although she puts a plausible argument. What I suspect it is about is part of the ongoing dummy spit over the changed arrangements for private members’ day. The reason I say that is the tantrums we have heard upstairs—of storming out because the Chief Minister is 10 minutes late and the failure to turn up today for a meeting with the Chief Minister. It is all about: “We can’t get our own way. We resent the fact that there are two members in this place on the crossbench who are initiating legislation that the people of Canberra want, who are initiating motions that the people of Canberra want. We are bereft of ideas, so the best thing we can try and do is shut down people who have got ideas.” Sadly, after four months here with the supposed new-look opposition, I think we are seeing most of it being directed by the master puppeteer, who is driving this new agenda and saying, “We’ve got to do all we can to shut down these two members in Molonglo.”
I think you will find that there is going to be a growing body of view in the ACT—I am seeing it by correspondence and calls—with people saying: “We can’t rely on this Liberal opposition to provide a viable alternative to the Stanhope government. We are going to be looking elsewhere.” I think you are going to find, as your opinion polls showed last November where you were down to only four likely seats before all the dramas started, that you are going to have more people in this place to contend with after next October who are not aligned to either party.
In terms of this particular stunt, it is good for one week. As of next week, of course, as Mr Corbell has pointed out, we will all put in our MPIs. So whatever great advantage has been accomplished is beyond me. I think they have missed the media opportunity for their motion, so it cannot be for that purpose. I think there is a measure of sour grapes in this motion. It is all part of a strategy to say, “Well, we’ll thumb our noses at convention; we’ll thumb our noses at pairs.” All of this is because there is a strong voice now putting up issues that concern the people of Canberra on tax reform, on various other issues of regulation. This is coming from an opposition that has been incredibly silent and inactive on a range of legislative fronts.