Page 2721 - Week 08 - Tuesday, 23 June 2009

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and pop up and say, “No, sir,” or whether you will consider the line items appropriately and vote for them accordingly. We will see whether you have got courage to support something which is going to benefit the people of Canberra, after having expressed your reservations about it. We will see whether you have the fortitude to do that.

I suspect I am going to sit here for what will be an interminable period between now and the end of the week. I know that, because last year I grew noticeably older in the time that it took the debate to be concluded. I had in fact incredibly dark hair at the beginning of the debate—and ended up with the silver locks that I now possess. The challenge is out for those opposite: let us see whether you have got guts or not.

Proposed expenditure agreed to.

Proposed expenditure—Part 1.4—Chief Minister’s Department, $45,218,000 (net cost of outputs) and $13,444,000 (capital injection), totalling $58,662,000.

MR SESELJA (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (4.50): There are a number of important issues that came through in the estimates committee in relation to the Chief Minister’s Department and we want to touch on some of those. I touched earlier, in relation to the ACT executive, on how the Chief Minister has allowed ministerial standards to sink so low. In fact, we saw, during the Chief Minister’s appearance before the estimates committee, how he is leading from the front on that score. We saw how in fact he uses the agencies of the government as his personal plaything.

We note that the Chief Minister walks away when the Chief Minister’s Department is being debated. We note that the Chief Minister will not even stay to defend himself, to defend his record and to defend his behaviour. And there were a number of—

Mr Corbell: He has a pair, and you know it.

MR SESELJA: I did not know that, but you would think that he would stay for some of the Chief Minister’s debate. He walked the second I got up. I suppose, when you have behaved as he has and you have had to be condemned by the committee for your behaviour, it is no surprise that you would run away.

Indeed, we saw in relation to OwnPlace one of the most extraordinary things. The committee had to conclude that the Chief Minister misrepresented the committee in writing to builders. He wrote to builders, he wrote to industry bodies, and he misrepresented what had been said, for his own ends. In fact, we had to conclude:

… the Chief Minister misrepresented the Committee, claiming the Committee had made accusations rather than seeking clarification. The Committee also noted that the Chief Minister misrepresented the committee during hearings, claiming that “defamatory allegations” had been made.

The Committee noted that at no time did committee members claim that the building companies involved in the scheme were ‘price gouging’, and that this term was first used by Deputy Chief Executive of the Chief Minister’s Department, Mr David Dawes.

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