Page 3717 - Week 10 - Tuesday, 26 August 2008

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The Chief Minister was a relevant witness and he refused to be examined by the committee. We can only take it from this that the Chief Minister’s protestations about unfair findings against him are simply hot air because, if he genuinely believed that, he would have relished the opportunity to come and put his case. It is one thing to have a debate in the Assembly but it is another thing to be examined by a committee and asked questions about your performance. The Chief Minister did not have the courage to do that. Then today we saw that debate shut down so that there could not be a discussion of that issue.

His refusal to front up to that committee is a poor reflection on the Chief Minister. That committee was to examine these issues. The Chief Minister and the Attorney-General said that it was for political judgements to be made and they refused to allow themselves to be subjected to those through the proper processes that were set up in this Assembly. It does display a complete lack of courage.

Mr Corbell: I attended the inquiry. What a load of nonsense. Did I not give evidence at the inquiry, Mr Seselja?

MR SESELJA: Mr Corbell is probably not listening to me. Mr Stanhope did not attend. He did not subject himself to it. He would not subject himself—

Mr Corbell: You said me as well; you included me.

MR SESELJA: I did not, so you can only—

MR SPEAKER: Order! This is not a conversation.

MR SESELJA: But this is about the Chief Minister, the man who failed to warn us, refusing to come and put his case. If he had a strong case he would have come and put it. Instead, he was happy to throw rocks at the coroner and then not be subjected to scrutiny for those comments and for his actions.

All we got during the coronial inquiry was Mr Forgetful. We had Jon Stanhope, the forgetful Chief Minister, who could not remember anything. We would have been keen to know whether or not he now remembered what had gone on. His failure to do so and his failure to allow debate tonight is another demonstration of him running away from this issue and not showing courage on this issue in the slightest.

I did want to also touch on the issue of Mr Hargreaves’s extraordinary answer today in question time. When faced with the bald facts of his statement on WIN news “we did not know there were going to be 29,000 cars” and the projection that they had in 2002 that there were going to be 29,000 cars, I think, in 2006, Mr Hargreaves’s answer—one of the most absurd answers we have heard in this place—was: “What we thought was that we would build this road and we were hoping that no-one would really use it; we were hoping it would take 12 months before people realised that there was this road and they would start using it.” It was an absurd answer, trying to cover up for the fact that he is trying to gild the lily here.

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