Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 10 Hansard (Wednesday, 26 August 2009) . . Page.. 3722 ..
has made, if this is the new standard that we set in the Assembly today, so be it. If we go down this path it should apply to everyone equally.
Amendment agreed to.
MR DOSZPOT (Brindabella) (4.01): A dangerous precedent has been set by Mr Barr through his actions these past few months. The minister’s response here today has been abysmal. The manner in which he has handled this issue is appalling and not befitting of someone who holds public office. The minister is getting more emboldened as each day passes. His factional position in the Labor Party has given him delusions of grandeur and apparently delusions of infallibility as well. He must not be allowed to get away with the arrogant behaviour he has displayed. By making the assertions he has to the Non-Government Schools Education Council in writing and over and over again in this place he has paved a clear pathway.
All members of this place, including the Greens, can now be certain that, by his actions, the minister has paved the way for everything that we say as members, particularly the opposition and the crossbench, to be potentially manipulated and distorted in any way any minister of the day sees fit. Mr Corbell, in his very strange response a few minutes ago, also seemed to endorse it as being a quite acceptable part of politics.
Minister Barr, I would caution you on your continued misleading of this Assembly and, indeed, members of the Non-Government Schools Education Council. You have already compromised your position and your status as education minister and dug yourself an ever-deepening hole. I find it quite incredible that you are perpetuating this myth about what I said and what I meant. The constituents that you are trying to impress with this false impression of protecting the non-government schools from the Canberra Liberals are already very aware of your form, and mine for that matter, and I give you two guesses as to whom they will believe.
You have made your position quite clear with them and I am very comfortable with the impression and the opinions I have expressed to both the non-government and the government school sectors. I have spoken to individuals external to this place, without going into detail about this issue. Obviously I have felt aggrieved, and because I feel personally affronted the issue is very raw and close to me.
These individuals made comments such as: “Isn’t this what you do now that you’re in politics? Isn’t it about political point scoring and lying?” I beg to differ with this. This is not the game that I have come into this place to play. I definitely do not see our role as members of this Assembly as one that can be manipulated as an individual sees fit. Perhaps this is a naive view or perhaps it is a new view that should be undertaken more seriously than the current minister for education seems to think that he can. Or perhaps this minister has been here too long. He is certainly displaying the arrogance of someone who is taking for granted the office and the responsibility that he represents.
This censure motion—which obviously has changed somewhat, and I endorse Ms Bresnan’s amendment—against Mr Barr is serious. Minister Barr has