Page 1951 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 25 June 2008

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you have got a make a decision and you are going to offer the block that you want them to use,” because that is what it comes down to. The Chief Minister had decisions here. Indeed, there are further blocks in Hume and there are further blocks further afield, as Mr Seselja pointed out, that should have been and could have been considered for this project, but they were not. Questions have to be answered as to why they were not.

They are exposed now by Mr Corbell’s revealing what the Chief Minister should have done and did do, and that is they did consider it. Mr Corbell has told this place that the Chief Minister did consider the value of the blocks or he would have been negligent. The Chief Minister denied that he considered the values of those blocks. The Chief Minister denied it. So we have got this conflict again in their defence. Their defence is so flimsy and so full of holes that you are almost embarrassed to call it a defence. They have not looked at the documents that have been tabled earlier this morning. We even had a lunch break. You had two hours to look at these documents; you chose not to because you know that the opposition is correct in what they are doing today; the Chief Minister is worthy of a motion of no confidence in him.

MS PORTER (Ginninderra) (4.53): I rise to speak in opposition to the motion and also the amendments. Members may remember me mentioning previously in this place that I decided to run for the Assembly on the back of, amongst other things, my belief in Jon Stanhope as a leader. I had observed him as a man of integrity and of vision, not wanting to be driven by short-term political gain. I felt comfortable that my personal integrity and value system would not be under threat being part of Jon Stanhope’s team. I stand here today to say that I have not been disappointed. That is why I have decided to stand again in October this year.

As I said, Jon Stanhope is a man of vision, a man of integrity and a man not driven by short-term political gain. You only need to look at the record of this government under his leadership, as has been outlined in this place many times. It is clearly demonstrated by the 2008-09 budget that we are about to debate, and that we would have debated by now were it not for this mischief we are subjected to today.

What I can say, though, is that I am very disappointed in Mr Seselja. When he came to this Assembly at the same time as me, as a new member, fresh with enthusiasm and, I would think, high ideals, I expect he thought he was here to make a difference for all Canberrans. I certainly came here with that hope and intention and I have been very pleased to make a real difference for thousands of Canberrans in the few years I have been here as a member. Indeed, I know that the Stanhope government, as a whole, has been able to make a substantial difference to the lives of all ACT citizens, not only those of today but those of the future.

However, what has Mr Seselja done? In my opinion, he has abused the privilege that people gave him in 2004. He is young and inexperienced, granted, and he is easily manipulated and persuaded by political gain, granted. Why, if that was not so, would he be gullible enough to be willing to be appointed Leader of the Opposition, a sort of sacrificial lamb, on Mr Smyth’s behalf. We all know the reason why his party room, or more particularly Mr Smyth, wanted Mr Seselja to put himself on the line in this way.

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