Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 05 Hansard (Wednesday, 7 May 2008) . . Page.. 1502 ..
MR BARR: It is certainly not over. At no point have I, as planning minister, the government or the Planning and Land Authority given any indication that the debate was over. In fact, I announced last week reference to the Assembly’s planning and environment committee, according to due process.
Again, what we have here is the Liberal opposition, the merchants of doom, trying to walk both sides of the street. You have got Mr Seselja up there beating his chest about what he is going to do for first home buyers and for housing affordability. On the other hand, you have got Mrs Burke out there peddling away, trying to stop affordable housing in this part of the city. That is a very disappointing response from the Liberal opposition.
Mrs Burke: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I ask Mr Barr to retract that statement. I am not peddling that matter he has just raised. That is a lie, and I ask him to withdraw.
MR SPEAKER: I think you should withdraw your imputation as well. You cannot call members liars across the chamber.
Mrs Burke: I withdraw “lie”. I ask Mr Barr to withdraw his statement also.
MR SPEAKER: It is contestable, I think. If Mr Barr is—
MR BARR: I have certainly not referred to Mrs Burke as a liar, and I would not refer to Mrs Burke as a liar. If she believes I have, I apologise. But I have not referred to Mrs Burke as a liar. I have made an observation about her activity in relation to this issue. I do not believe it is constructive; I do not believe it aids the public debate. But that is a matter of how Mrs Burke conducts herself and that is a matter for her.
MR SPEAKER: I call on Mr Mulcahy with a supplementary question.
MR MULCAHY: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Thank you, minister. Minister, why is it only after the very vocal protests of so many residents that you have now started to take these concerns seriously and open dialogue with the Weston Creek Community Council?
MR BARR: Thank you, Mr Speaker. I do not think I can accept the assertion of Mr Mulcahy’s question. The government, through the Planning and Land Authority, has been engaging in considerable public consultation on these matters. I have discussed particular concerns with parents of the Orana school committee. In fact, they have invited me out to the site next week and I am going out on the 14th. I must add that I am very, very familiar with this site, having spent seven years at school at the former AME school that was right on this site. I am very familiar with the area. I know it very well. Most of my youth was spent around this area.
For Mr Mulcahy to suggest that I have not been and the government has not been involved in consultations is, I think, a little bit unfair. It is an election year. You expect these sorts of accusations. That is life; that is politics.