Page 2193 - Week 06 - Friday, 27 June 2008

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Friday, 27 June 2008

MR SPEAKER (Mr Berry) took the chair at 10.30 am and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Statement by member

MR MULCAHY (Molonglo): Mr Speaker, I seek leave to make a short personal statement on my change of status.

Leave granted.

MR MULCAHY: I rise directly this morning to inform the Assembly of my changed status. Having joined the crossbenches and independents in December of last year, I now wish to advise the Assembly that I formed my own political party, the Richard Mulcahy Canberra Party, also to be known by the abbreviation “the Canberra Party”.

There were several causative factors behind my decision to form a new political party, not least the electoral law changes forced through this Assembly by the ACT government. These changes of course were intended to make it more difficult for an independent candidate to get elected. However, there were other factors at play long before the changes were brought through the Assembly.

I have met with several prominent people in the non-Labor side of politics from across Australia, and the consensus was that the current direction of the various state Liberal parties across the country was woefully inadequate and that a new force in the non-Labor side of politics was needed, a view that was confirmed in the dinner break last night by Mr Warren Truss, the leader of the National Party. And there is no place where this is more obvious than the ACT. It is clear to many in the community that majority government has failed, and I firmly believe that neither major party should govern alone, with an absolute majority in a single-chamber legislature.

Democracy requires strong opposition and, as poor as some of the ACT government decisions have been, they have been allowed to happen for two reasons: one, the performance of the ACT Liberal Party, which I believe is evident to the entire Canberra community; and the absence of a check on the exercise of their power from a strong crossbench.

It is the Canberra Party’s intention to be a key player in the next Assembly. I will place on the record right now that I do not believe in brinkmanship or holding a gun to the head of whichever party happens to be in power. Just as democracy needs strong opposition, it also needs stable government, and this is something I am committed to helping to provide.

I think my philosophy is well known in this place. The Canberra Party will stand for those same ideals: restraining the growth of government, reducing the tax burden, focusing on providing the core essential services that the people of Canberra need. The Canberra Party’s first priority is the ACT election in October, and I am honoured

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