Page 1881 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 25 June 2008

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The bottom line is that this government mismanaged this process from the start. They did not consider the residents, they have withheld documents, and this government cannot handle major projects. Mr Stanhope has no-one to blame but himself for the current crisis. I commend the motion to the Assembly.

MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Business and Economic Development, Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Minister for the Environment, Water and Climate Change, Minister for the Arts) (10.59): Mr Speaker, I take my responsibilities and duties as Chief Minister as seriously as I take everything else that I do. From the moment that I was sworn into office, I have been dedicated to acting at all times and in all my dealings in the best interests of Canberra and the Canberra community. I know, as we all know in this place, that there is cynicism about the motives and methods of politicians. I have tried always to prove that politics can be conducted in a manner that proves the cynics to be just that—cynics. I take accountability seriously; I take most things seriously. I cleave to the principles of parliamentary democracy and to the principles of open and accountable government.

Mr Speaker, time has shown that while I am able and willing to mistakes or errors, so, too, have I always been prepared to account for and defend my actions, the actions of my government and the actions of my public servants. It is precisely because I take my responsibilities so seriously that I regard this motion of no confidence to be an affront to the standards set previously in this place. Never has there been a motion of no confidence so flimsily rooted. Never has there been a motion so clumsily constructed, so grounded in wishful thinking, so insubstantial and so maliciously motivated.

Before we reflect on the spurious grounds for this motion, I beg your indulgence, Mr Speaker, to reflect on the headline of the Canberra Times of 20 June 2008: “Address the facts, not me.” This sentiment was attributed to none other than the Leader of the Opposition, the individual behind today’s motion. I believe the sentiment to be a worthy one, so worthy that one cannot help but wonder why the member for Macarthur—actually, the member for Brindabella, or is it Molonglo—seeks for himself a courtesy he elects not to extend to others. This motion is nothing less than an attack on me as a person and on my integrity. It is a motion that accuses me of lying; it alleges that I am not fit to hold my job; it is a call for me to resign.

Sadly, one of the actual and palpable outcomes of this political stunt will be a savage blow to the prospects of the ACT being able to attract future major investments, a blow from which we may not quickly recover. Another outcome—real, unnecessary and shameful—will be the undermining of confidence in our independent planning processes. What must the people of Canberra think when they see the alternative Chief Minister of this territory suggesting that ministers ought to be able to abort independent arm’s length statutory assessment processes on a whim and that procedural fairness ought to be abandoned at the first sign of disputation or difficulty? Let nobody be fooled. That is precisely what the Leader of the Opposition and his colleagues are calling for—that is, approval by ministerial fear, approvals for mates at the expense of the rest, nods and winks and the kind of system that would have an ICAC sniffing at our borders in a heartbeat.

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