Page 982 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 25 February 2009

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Mr Coe: Have you read it?

MR STANHOPE: Yes, I have. TAMS has acknowledged that many of the recommendations that have been made are well made. TAMS has accepted some of the criticism and certainly the recommendations for how to improve on the failings of Brendan Smyth at the outset and in the delivery of the road.


MS BRESNAN: My question is for the Minister for Planning and concerns the exemption of school developments from standard planning procedures. Was it a deliberate decision to announce changes to the planning system in the media before you informed the Greens or Liberals and to characterise the Greens’ questions as an attempt to block the school stimulus package or did you not realise that other parties in the Assembly simply needed the information about what was proposed?

MR BARR: I could accept the line of argument that Ms Bresnan is seeking to advance had the Greens not issued a media release on the Friday afternoon before even talking to anyone in my office or me or seeking a briefing or seeking any information in relation to what the government said. There was an immediate press release issued in response.

All that my media release and my announcement on the Thursday did was say that that was the path that the government was going to pursue. In a knee-jerk reaction the next day—it may even have been that afternoon, because it appeared in the Canberra Times the next day; there was a Canberra Times article where journalists obviously did the rounds and asked each of the parties what their position was.

Mr Seselja’s office, perhaps cleverly, sought to defer making an announcement on what the Liberals’ position would be and said that they would seek a briefing—that they would wait until they had received a briefing before indicating a position. In terms of politics 1.01, I will take my hat off to the Leader of the Opposition’s office. Mr Doyle, who is sitting over there on the bench, probably advised, wisely, that it would be worth seeking some further information before putting out a public position.

Unfortunately for the Greens, the planning spokesperson issued a media release, I think labelling me as Mr Process and seeking to—

Mr Stanhope: But only after consulting with you, Mr Barr.

MR BARR: No, I do not know that there was. There was not. There was no actual approach made to seek further information before the press release was put out.

Ms Bresnan: The announcement was made in the media without approaching us first.

MR BARR: All is fair in love and war and politics. Let us not suggest, and let us not have the Greens suggest, that there was not a pre-emptive strike fired across my bows in relation to process matters and that the Greens indicated a position.

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