Page 3902 - Week 10 - Thursday, 27 August 2009

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They canned cracker night for Canberrans and they still have on the agenda an attempt to criminalise kids if they put up a sign for their lost dog. This is despite some of the most flagrant filibustering I have ever seen in this Assembly.

It cannot go uncommented that in relation to a straightforward amalgamation bill the other day we had, in addition to the minister responsible, the Chief Minister, Ms Burch and Ms Porter speak on the bill. Ms Porter’s contribution included a history of furlough from colonial times until today.

It took 15 minutes the other day for me to get some letters tabled. They were letters that were from people directly affected and that were related directly to a bill that this Assembly is considering. It availed them not. The government left the chamber again well short of the time available—on Tuesday, almost 4½ hours short of time.

Last Thursday, after seven weeks on winter break, the government finished at 11.20 in the morning session and the Assembly adjourned at 4.28 pm. On Thursday, 18 June, another day when the government had a full control of the agenda, government business lasted about half an hour.

From time to time we have been critical of the government on these issues. Back on 1 April the Deputy Chief Minister said, “There is nothing unusual about this, because we are a new government coming into the first term, but once we get past the budget there will be lots of government business.”

Mr Hargreaves: Look out.

MRS DUNNE: “Look out; there will be lots of government business.” But there has not been. Here we are in August, with the Greens and the opposition filling their day with more than enough business but there is nothing going on upstairs, except for the government in the doldrums of damage control, with the shipmates struggling over control of the rudder.

There is, however, one agenda item that finds plenty of time on that agenda to address, and that is leadership. Last Monday, the late night Liberals noticed who was left in the car park—not the Chief Minister, nor the Deputy Chief Minister; but every single one of the right faction members. Perhaps they were involved in their own fireworks plot: blow up the Chief Minister with a regulation that he did not want, was not consulted on and was forced to accept. Were they planning to fringe the Fringe Festival and foist it on the folkies and forget about the rest? On Tuesday night, they were there again; the right faction meeting long after the Assembly had adjourned and Jon and Katy had left the building and gone home.

There is something going on upstairs but it certainly is not leadership. The Chief Minister is not a happy Jon. His one highlight was a zippy one-liner that he has been using for years. He is like that embarrasing uncle who always comes up with a gag that everyone laughs at outwardly but shrugs off and grimaces afterwards. But what we actually have is Mr Stanhope on the ropes; not long, Jon; you cannot tell Corbell; and do not go, latey Katy; which leaves “what is Andrew up to?” And that is the real question.

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