Page 2159 - Week 06 - Thursday, 7 May 2009
draw a line when it comes to looking at individual instances of deceptive, defamatory or insulting activity being pursued for party political purposes.
As a member of the Greens, I am well aware of our policies being deliberately misrepresented and widely circulated through the electorate by the internet and the traditional media. We are on the record as describing these activities as deceptive and anti-democratic. I have run in a few election campaigns now, and one of the appalling actions that I was totally unimpressed with and thought was out of order was back in the 2007 federal election campaign here in the ACT when Gary Humphries distributed information that incorrectly described our policies. In our view, this was a Ruddock-like act by him, stepping away from his purported beliefs for electoral advantage.
We have seen other examples of this around the country in other political campaigns, and can I say on that particular pamphlet that was handed out during that 2007 campaign that this was a pamphlet that was held on computers by every Liberal Party branch around the country that just needed to be printed off at the time of an election. So whenever there was an election coming up, the great idea was, four days or so out from the election, to print off this outrageously untrue and inaccurate anti-Greens brochure and then letterbox it around the suburbs. I have to say also that Peter Garrett was an enthusiastic contributor to essentially the same exercise before the last Victorian election.
I note that in this last campaign the Liberal Party here in Canberra did not take the same approach to us. They did not roll out this brochure, and in that context I do, I suppose, acknowledge that Mr Seselja was not going to play that particular nasty trick. I move the amendment circulated in my name:
Add the following words:
“and that this Assembly:
(1) condemns the use of sexist, racist, homophobic vilification on internet posts or any other medium;
(2) commits that all parties will work to ensure that Members, staff and party members do not engage in the use of such actions in any medium; and
(3) will apply appropriate disciplinary action against anyone identified as conducting any such activities.”.
I think this is important. First of all, it is incredibly important to acknowledge that this fake Facebook page was totally unacceptable and we should not see the likes of it again in the ACT. I think that my proposed amendment, which adds three parts to the motion, puts out there quite clearly that this Assembly needs to work to a standard. We have been elected to represent the people of Canberra. We are here to show some moral leadership and also, I believe, to show that we play fairly. I believe that we need these additions to the motion and I hope that all members will support the motion with the amendment that I have moved.
Amendment agreed to.