Page 2414 - Week 06 - Thursday, 23 June 2011

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Cabinet solidarity

MR COE: My question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, you are on the record as breaching cabinet solidarity by making public statements that are contrary to cabinet decisions and government policy. You have explained to the media at the time of those statements that you did so because your party faction required you to do so. Now you are Chief Minister, will you in future, in any forum, maintain cabinet solidarity, or will you say one thing in this place and take a different position in other forums when your faction demands it?

MS GALLAGHER: I thank Mr Coe for the question. What we are seeing from the opposition is an attempt to look back—what is it, six or seven years—to try and dig up some dirt on Katy Gallagher, to discredit me as Chief Minister. It is a symbol of your performance as an opposition that you can only look back and you can never look forward. That is the big difference between the two of us.

Mr Coe: On a point of order, in actual fact the question was about the future, and it was about whether she will maintain cabinet solidarity in the future.

MR SPEAKER: Chief Minister?

MS GALLAGHER: Indeed, following question time, I will be giving a ministerial statement around how we can improve on bringing the community into our confidence earlier around cabinet processes. It is something I am very interested in. Whilst maintaining, of course, the integrity of cabinet, I think there are opportunities ahead about how we advise the community of the challenges and issues that cabinet is considering. I am leading that process, Mr Coe, and I know you are excited and interested, and that you will stay around in the chamber to hear that address from me later today. I expect the very strong solidarity that has existed in this government since 2001 to continue for many, many years. This has been a symbol of this government and the government’s leadership on some very challenging issues—the fact that the seven of us can work as a team. The contrast between us and you is very clear.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Coe?

MR COE: Chief Minister, how do you reconcile your public statements in defiance of cabinet solidarity if you are now pledged for openness and accountability? Will the paper that you are about to read out address your lack of cabinet solidarity in the past?

MS GALLAGHER: Cabinet solidarity is an important part of the cabinet process. Indeed, not ever having been in government, and probably not going to be in government in the future, you will not understand the—

Opposition members interjecting—

MR SPEAKER: Members!

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