Page 3834 - Week 10 - Thursday, 27 August 2009

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Ministerial performance

MR COE: My question is to the Chief Minister. I refer to an article entitled “Greens paint the town red?” in the latest edition of the City News. Mr Hargreaves is quoted as saying that points in the Greens-Labor agreement were:

… carrots in front of the donkey; we’ll never eat them, but they will keep us moving forward.

Is that statement representative of the integrity of the Greens-Labor agreement? If so, why? If not, why not?

MR STANHOPE: The relationship between the government and the Greens is a relationship based on mutual respect and a relationship certainly framed essentially by a consistent philosophy, a determination to jointly serve the people of the ACT to the best of our abilities. The parliamentary agreement was entered into honestly, openly and very much in recognition of the shared philosophies of the ACT Labor Party and the ACT Greens.

I am sure that each of the Greens in this place, including yourself, Mr Speaker, in quiet moments reflect on the decision they took to join the Greens instead of the Labor Party. I have no doubt that perhaps I and some of my colleagues in quiet moments from time to time reflect on how our lives would be had we joined the Greens instead of the Australian Labor Party.

Ms Bresnan: Still time and you can change. I think that will be okay.

MR STANHOPE: Still time for you, Ms Bresnan; there certainly is. The parliamentary agreement was an agreement entered into purposely and genuinely. It remains an agreement that we are absolutely and utterly committed to.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Coe, a supplementary question?

MR COE: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Chief Minister, what action will you take over another regrettable statement by Mr Hargreaves?

MR STANHOPE: There is no action required of me. I think we all need to accept that we are all politicians. There is a hurly-burly here. I do not think there is a need, for instance, to rush off and lodge complaints with privileges committees when there is a reasonable response to a political position.

There is no need for censure motions or expressions of the will of the Assembly in relation to a political point made by a member of the government in relation to an issue of significant moment. I do think we need to accept that we are politicians. This is a highly charged political process and profession that each of us is engaged in. I believe we need a level of maturity and understanding around the context in which comments and statements are made from time to time.

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