Page 2476 - Week 06 - Thursday, 23 June 2011

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issues. The management of land, the number one asset that the ACT government has—its availability and the redevelopment of that land to enhance or progress an enormous number of policies—is something that should not be treated in this way.

I was not here back in 1992, 1993 or 1994 when the original act went through, but it was a dog’s breakfast because it was amended in an ad hoc way on the floor of the chamber. It took probably 12 or 13 years for it to be put into a state where it became a reasonable way of managing the territory’s affairs. If we do it this way this evening, all we are doing is returning to those days when things were moved which people could not fully explain, did not want to fully explain or did not know how to fully explain—or when they did not want people to know the purpose of the amendment. And that is not scrutiny.

Earlier this week we had the Chief Minister say that she wants this new era of open and accountable government. We have seen example after example this week. Indeed, we had examples today when we were not allowed to have a full look at the Buchanan affair by sending it off to a committee. So much for openness and accountability! Here we are amending a bill that brings in a significant proportion of the territory’s own-source revenue, but it is not going to have proper scrutiny. It will not have proper scrutiny if amendments are rushed through, if they are rammed through in this way.

Of course, it is easy to take the cheap shot: “Oh, it is just a tantrum on behalf of the Liberal Party.” It is not on behalf of the Liberal Party; it is on behalf of the people of the ACT who expect better from their law makers, who actually want to have reasonable debates. Everybody says we should raise the standard of debate in the Assembly, but you have a chance to have a substantial discussion on a substantial issue and we just ram it through. One block; there you go.

What this does is put the spotlight back on the Chief Minister and her pledge for openness and accountability. It just goes out the door whenever you are called to account. When something tough comes up where you want to have openness, where you want to have scrutiny, it goes out the window. I do not think it bodes well for the Chief Minister. I do not think she is getting good advice if she thinks that this is a good process, because it is simply not a good process.

Members, I refer you to the size of the bill and then I ask you to look at the size of the amendments. The bill is only 29 pages. There are 17 pages of amendments. This bill is about to get 60 per cent bigger in a single amendment. I think most people would say that is unacceptable. I think what most people would say is that we should have a reasonable look. To simply say that you can do this because we have had a discussion, we have had an internal discussion inside the coalition—this is the secretive stuff that people are afraid of. Indeed, this is the secretive stuff that—the Chief Minister, on Monday, Tuesday and today, purports to new openness and accountability, but she does not practise it.

People will judge the Chief Minister on the way she governs what she says. They will judge her on the way she, in her relationship with the Greens and their agreement, her relationship with her ministers and her relationship with this place—whether or not she is full of—(Time expired.)

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