Page 236 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 10 December 2008
That is quite apart from the fact that we believe that what we were calling for prior to the election and what the Greens were calling for prior to the election—that is, that the government should make this document available—still stands. It is as valid a proposition now as it was prior to the election. It is as valid a proposition now as it was when Dr Foskey wrote, on behalf of the public accounts committee, on several occasions to the Chief Minister, asking for it, and it is as valid a proposition now as it was when Dr Foskey moved a motion in the Assembly containing the very same words. It is a very curious position that has been taken by the Greens.
We see a split between Mr Corbell and Mr Stanhope on this issue. Mr Corbell, for once, perhaps, showed a touch more reasonableness than Mr Stanhope, because Mr Corbell in his speech said that there were legitimate claims on both sides—that the executive had some legitimate claims and that the legislature had some legitimate claims here. Mr Stanhope took an absolutist position that we are all wrong, that these documents should never be released, that it would fundamentally undermine Westminster democracy and that it was a question of honour. That is an interesting proposition coming from the Chief Minister, isn’t it? A question of honour. This is the man who released documents that were given to him in confidence because he felt it was in his short-term political interests. He could not be trusted. He showed no honour in placing those documents on his website. This is a man for whom honour and truthfulness seem to be a foreign concept.
Mr Corbell: On a point of order, Madam Assistant Speaker, that is casting a clear aspersion on the Chief Minister’s character, and it is quite disorderly. I would ask you to ask Mr Seselja to withdraw.
MADAM ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Mrs Dunne): What do you consider is disorderly, Mr Corbell?
Mr Corbell: Mr Seselja indicated that the concept of honour and truthfulness were alien to Mr Stanhope’s character. I think that is most disorderly, and I would ask you to ask Mr Seselja to withdraw it.
MADAM ASSISTANT SPEAKER: Mr Corbell probably has a point, Mr Seselja. Could you withdraw.
MR SESELJA: To the extent that it was disorderly, which has not been pointed out to me, I withdraw.
Mr Corbell: No, without qualification.
MR SESELJA: No, hang on; it has not been pointed out to me.
Mr Corbell: On the point of order, when withdrawals are asked for, it is the common form in this place that they are withdrawn without qualification. It is quite disorderly to withdraw them with qualification, and Speakers of all persuasions previously have asked that they be withdrawn without qualification.
MADAM ASSISTANT SPEAKER: Mr Seselja, could I ask you to withdraw any imputation on the Chief Minister’s character.