Page 3204 - Week 08 - Tuesday, 16 August 2011

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Ms Bresnan: I ask that Mr Coe withdraw that statement calling Ms Hunter gutless. It is unparliamentary and he should withdraw the statement.

MR SPEAKER: Yes. Mr Coe, I would ask you to withdraw the reference.

MR COE: I withdraw. Would they have expected Mr Seselja to show the complete lack of leadership that Ms Hunter has shown? Now, it is interesting that she should interject and she should call me names across the chamber, but perhaps she should in fact be calling the member of her own party to account.

Perhaps she should be the one that says to a person for whom she is the leader that what he did was unacceptable and that what he did was unbecoming of a member of this place, and certainly unbecoming of the person who is the Speaker of this place. It is hypocrisy. What the Greens are showing here is complete hypocrisy and they are showing just how militant they are. They are not the third-party insurance. They are not a responsible coalition partner. They are a militant political body who are determined to see the way of life that we enjoy here in Canberra destroyed.

Another angle which I think we should be looking at is the example that a member of this place sets—not just any member; the example that a Speaker sets in this place. We all know that we get hundreds, if not thousands, of school students coming into this place every year. We know that in actual fact the Speaker is the formal host of all these visits. On many occasions I go and speak to the students, as does the Speaker, as do other people in this Assembly.

I wonder what example Mr Speaker is setting to those students when he takes part in conversations which do, in effect, condone criminal activity. What example is he setting? How can he possibly look these students in the eye and say, “I take the laws of this place seriously. I take my role as a legislator seriously and I take you as Canberrans seriously”?

It was disgraceful, absolutely disgraceful, and I am embarrassed to be a member of this place to think that the person who is the host of this place, the person that hosts thousands of students in this place is indeed condoning criminal activity in effect. He not only hosts students but he also represents our parliament at many conferences both here in Australia and abroad.

Again, I am embarrassed by the fact that the person who represents this parliament does, in effect, condone criminal activity. I am embarrassed by the fact the Speaker of the ACT parliament who represents Canberrans, who represents the legislators in Canberra, does, in effect, condone criminal activity.

Canberrans are sick of this place being an experiment. They do not like us to be trailblazers on everything under the sun. They do not expect us to go out there trying to be some kind of revolutionary for a cause which is not relevant. What they want is for people in Canberra to live better lives, to live cheaper lives and to have the quality of life which is constantly improving because of the laws that we set in this place.

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