Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 10 Hansard (Wednesday, 26 August 2009) . . Page.. 3691 ..
community consultation a particular aspect of the operation of TAMS. It is an interesting issue in politics, of course, Mr Speaker, when your opponents become so deeply predictable. I did not actually pick that it would be libraries, but I assumed there would be a suggestion from Mr Coe as to whether I would rule out reducing the number of times that we clean the toilets in Civic from six to five a day, or some such.
I am happy to engage; I guess it is during question time and on sitting days that politics becomes its most puerile, and it is a game that we all play to some extent. But this is puerile politics at its most base. “Chief Minister, will you rule this in or rule this out in the face of a community consultation which you have undertaken to provide?” There is going to be community consultation in relation to all aspects of service delivery. There will be a community forum. One of the specific forums through which we have decided to consult is libraries. One of the specific headings, one of the designated headings, in relation to the consultation which will commence in a few weeks time is libraries.
So here we have it: the Liberal Party is demanding and insisting that we consult on this and consult on that, and we are criticised if we do and we are criticised if we do not. I have undertaken, publicly and openly, to engage in a broad-ranging, unfettered consultation on the delivery of library services in the ACT. The consultation starts in four weeks. I have said that everything is on the table. I want to hear from the community on how best to deliver library services in the ACT. And the Liberal Party stand up today and say, “Chief Minister, will you rule out any discussion on libraries?” Of course, I am not going to rule out a discussion on libraries. If somebody from the Liberal Party wants to come along—
Mr Hanson: So you make the decisions and then consult?
MR STANHOPE: I am not making any decisions. I am dealing with the community. I am expecting, in fact, members of the Liberal Party to engage in the consultation, and I am expecting members of the Liberal Party to put a view on the table as to whether or not they believe services, costs and charges in relation to the libraries are adequate or not. Have you got the guts to engage? Have you got the guts to put a position on the table? Have you got the guts to say that you believe library services are appropriate and adequate? Have you got the guts to say you would like to enhance the services at this cost? Have you got the guts to say you believe that the services are being oversupplied and we need to make these adjustments? Have you got the courage to engage in the conversation? Have you got a policy on libraries? Have you got a position on libraries? Have you got a view on libraries—except that you will oppose everything that the government suggests it would like to discuss?
The ACT government will, in four weeks time, engage in a specific, directed consultation on the operation of libraries in the ACT. Why, today, when I have announced that there will be a full community consultation on library services, would I stand here and say, “Oh yes, Alistair, I’m horribly intimidated by your media release. I’m horribly intimidated. I’m afraid of what the Canberra Times will run on the front page tomorrow because I dare to consult”? I will not take off the table anything that might be on the table or which might be raised by a member of the community.