Page 3193 - Week 08 - Tuesday, 16 August 2011

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Tuesday, 16 August 2011

MR SPEAKER (Mr Rattenbury) took the chair at 10 am, made a formal recognition that the Assembly was meeting on the lands of the traditional custodians, and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.


Motion of want of confidence

MR SESELJA (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (10.02), by leave: I move:

That this Assembly no longer has confidence in the Speaker.

I rise today to discuss a very serious matter—that of a want of confidence in the Speaker of this Assembly. I do so with seriousness and purpose, and after considerable thought and discussion with my colleagues.

There are several reasons that lead us to this point, and there were several incidents that built, one upon the next, until I can no longer in good conscience or good faith continue to support our current Speaker in the role he currently occupies.

It may be best to start with the last of those reasons—but one which exemplifies above all others how utterly untenable the Speaker’s position has become. I refer, of course, to the absolutely extraordinary stance of this Speaker in openly denigrating the rule of law and in publicly supporting illegal activity. On 14 July this year the Canberra Times reported:

At least two Greenpeace protesters have scaled a fence with whipper snippers to destroy a crop of genetically-modified wheat at a CSIRO farm in Canberra.


“We had no choice but to take action to bring an end to this experiment,” said Greenpeace Food campaigner Laura Kelly in a release this morning.

The article concluded:

Police are investigating the incident.

Just to make this crystal clear, the GM crop that was so hazardous it had to be destroyed, was so abhorrent that protesters broke into a scientific centre and systematically destroyed hundreds of thousands of dollars of property—it was all to destroy wheat being grown to see if it could have a lower GI rating. That is it. The threat was low GI wheat.

This motion is not about examining the detail of those illegal actions themselves; it is about dealing with the endorsement of illegal actions by the Speaker of the Assembly. The Canberra Times of the day reported:

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