Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 25 June 2008) . . Page.. 1896 ..
MR SPEAKER: Resume your seat. The question is that the motion be agreed to.
Mr Stanhope: It needs to be understood that these arrangements were agreed between the party whips this morning.
MR SPEAKER: Order! The question is the motion be agreed to. Is this a point of order?
Mr Seselja: It is just on the Chief Minister’s comments, Mr Speaker. We agreed to 30 minutes for me and the Chief Minister, and we gave the Chief Minister extra time.
MR SPEAKER: That is a matter between you. It is not a point of order. The question is that the motion be agreed to.
DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (11.48): I stand here today, a week after the Leader of the Opposition announced his intention to move a vote of no confidence in the Chief Minister. While it was certainly an inconvenience and embarrassment to the government and a lot of extra work for me and my staff, I am glad that we have had those extra days to get on top of and inside this issue to the extent possible. A no-confidence motion requires all the information available and a great deal of consideration.
After a week of reading, attending briefings and talking to people about the questions raised by the government’s handling of the issue of the gas-fired power plant and data centre, I have to say that little more knowledge and clarity have been added, apart from the documents obtained by the Liberals through freedom of information. After this focused attention, I have to stand here and report that we are more than ever convinced that the process followed was a poor one, bound to come up against exactly the problems that it has experienced. Blind Freddy could have told Mr Stanhope and Mr Mackay that any thoughtful residents would want to know a great deal more than was provided by ActewAGL if such a development was planned near their homes. It is not a Macarthur-Fadden thing; it is an ACT government-ActewAGL thing. And while the opposition has certainly capitalised on it—I will have my camera out when Mr Pratt locks on to the first bulldozer to enter the paddock—it was not responsible for the bad process.
Since the government sets the rules for land releases and business operations in the ACT, the responsibility lies with it. ActewAGL certainly shoulders a great part of the burden, but there seem to be enough overlaps between it and the government to indicate that there were avenues for giving more guidance and bars to reach to gain approval, and that is approval of not just government but also the community. Seeing that Mr Stanhope is the Chief Minister, the Treasurer and the minister for economic development, as well as Minister for Indigenous Affairs and minister for the environment, energy and climate change—all portfolios with some relevance to the issue at hand—he must wear the responsibility.
He also has a responsibility on this matter as one of the two voting shareholders of the territory-owned Actew Corporation. I am sorry to say that he has denied the extent of that responsibility in a letter to me, as he did in a public hearing over another