Page 811 - Week 02 - Thursday, 12 February 2009
Some other elements of the week we saw today was the “oops, I’ve got it wrong—no, serendipitously, I’ve got it right” approach to the standing orders. It would be funny if it were not so tragic. It was comic, but it was a sorry reflection upon the performance of the manager of government business. In addition to being proven to be, by his own admission, a misleader of the Assembly—which he has done serially—he has also been proved to be less than competent in his management of issues before the house today.
On a brighter note—it is a very important issue, and I am sorry if I do gloat on this—the road to FOI reform has been a long one, and I think that what we did yesterday was great work. I am proud of the role that I have played in this, I am proud of the representation for people of the ACT, and I am proud of the consistent support I have received from my colleagues over two Assemblies in the achievement of this goal.
I was marvelling at one stage at how things had changed when I saw the Attorney-General standing and attempting to move amendments to make the FOI bill from his point of view less disastrous for the Stanhope government and having to argue at length for his case. It was interesting to see how the place has changed now that we do not have a majority government and when every party in this place in some way or other holds the balance of power. It is an interesting change, and I think it is a change that will, in the long run, be for the better of the ACT.
It is unimaginable that we could have had a debate about freedom of information or murder or bill posting of the sort that we had this week a mere four or five months ago in the previous Assembly. It would not have been allowed by the Stanhope government. Things would have been pushed through. What we achieved this week was a bit of a brake on these things. It may be discomforting to the Chief Minister, but it is comforting to the people of the ACT to know that when their laws are made, they have been considered not in the dark but in the full public glare of scrutiny. They have been considered in committee and, as a result, of that, I am pretty sure we will end up with a better result that will not amount to amendments on the run with unintended consequences.
MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Minister for Transport, Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Minister for Business and Economic Development, Minister for Indigenous Affairs and Minister for the Arts and Heritage) (5.15): I will conclude this week’s sitting by reflecting on an issue that has consumed perhaps the majority of the Assembly’s time this week—namely, the economic stimulus package, which we have just been advised has been voted down in the Senate. It has failed. The Liberal Party have carried through with its threat, and the stimulus package has not passed.
We need to reflect on the implications of that and we need to reflect again on the attitude which the ACT branch of the Liberal Party has taken to the $350 million of capital that we had expected but which, as a result of the Liberal Party’s actions in the Senate today, along with independents within the Senate, has been defeated. The stimulus package has been defeated in the Senate as a result of the actions of the