Page 1936 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 25 June 2008
In relation to consultation, I do not know what the consortium were expected to do. There were articles in the paper, planning studies and a PA and DA process. When the community expressed their concerns, the consortium amended their plans. They down scaled the project at Mugga Lane and moved the larger power station to Williamsdale.
What would have happened to community consultation under the Liberal Party? To answer that we look at Mr Smyth’s proposed Projects of Territory Importance Bill 2008. As with all private members’ bills, there is no explanatory statement, so we are left to guess at his intent. That can be gauged from the long title:
An act to facilitate the moving of projects of Territory importance from a location to another to allow for their effective delivery and, consequently, to allow for the usual planning processes to be shortened.
What a short-sighted approach—to allow developers to say: “My project is of territory importance but it can’t be built in the location I chose. I want to move it.” And Mr Smyth will then say, “Righto, off you go—and, by the way, you don’t have to comply with the planning laws because you’re moving. You don’t have to do noise studies or consult the community. Just go.” Mr Smyth then really opens the door to political interference by requiring ministers to approve the project on the changed site and then asking the Assembly to approve it. Where does he get this idea from? Wollongong maybe. That will really protect the community’s interest—allowing politicians, rather than independent statutory bodies and an apolitical public service, to do the leg work.
This motion of no confidence should be against Mr Seselja for allowing his deputy to put up such nonsense—or perhaps the leader did not allow his deputy to do it; perhaps the puppet master was just pulling the strings on that one. If Mr Seselja had truly been a “senior lawyer” in his previous job, he would have seen through Mr Smyth’s proposal. But he was not a senior lawyer. He was not the Attorney-General, the Solicitor-General, the Australian Government Solicitor. He was not their deputy; he did not even work in a law department. He has not had the experience in administration, government or politics to know that he was being misled. This no-confidence motion also shows that lack of experience. How would he go in COAG, against Rudd, Brumby and Rann? It does not bear thinking about.
This motion, like Mr Seselja, should be dismissed.
MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra) (4.06): I must thank Mr Hargreaves for his fascinating contribution to the debate. The cavalier approach of the Stanhope Labor government to governance in the territory questions its own fundamental ideals and philosophies. Indeed, in the 2004 Labor Party platform it is said:
It understands that good government does not bully, it leads. Good government accepts criticism. Good government has the courage to allow itself to be closely scrutinised. It conducts its operations in an open, honest and accountable manner, not in secret.
Good government respects the right to differ. Good government seeks to unite, not divide.