Page 795 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 27 February 2013

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Ms Seselja interjecting—

MADAM SPEAKER: Mr Seselja! I think that there is precedent for ruling “mob” unparliamentary, and I would ask you to withdraw it.

MR BARR: I withdraw, Madam Speaker.


MR BARR: An organised group of conservatives aimed at eliminating progressives from their party—and that is what we have seen and that is what is manifesting itself in this motion. And we know that Mr Hanson will have to continue to walk away from everything he said in his inaugural speech, all of those fine and worthy ambitions—for example, improving the rights of gay and lesbian Canberrans. Yet, in this place, we have seen consistently every legislative advance for gay and lesbian Canberrans voted against en bloc by this Liberal opposition.

So if Mr Hanson wants to demonstrate some courage on this issue, the very least he could do would be to provide a conscience vote for his members on those issues as they come forward in the Assembly during this term of the parliament.

Mr Coe: Do you have conscience votes?

MR BARR: We certainly do. And it will be very interesting to see what position the Leader of the Opposition takes in relation to that. I know on a couple of occasions that he has expressed, not just in this place but in other forums, a desire to see those rights advanced. But it would not, of course, fit with his new position; that is, progressive government, empowering the individual, ensuring that every citizen of this territory has the same rights. That does not fit with the narrow, conservative agenda that is being put forward by his colleagues. It will be a very interesting question and we will await with interest the position that the Leader of the Opposition takes.

In the time remaining to me, I think it is important to put a couple of other facts on the record, most particularly the observations later in Mr Hanson’s motion around the cost of Labor Party election commitments. When Mr Seselja was the Leader of the Opposition, he put out a press release saying that the cost was $2 billion. I am pleased to see that under the new leader they are getting closer to what the actual amount is. To date, it has gone from $2 billion to $1 billion.

Let me advise the Assembly that the net budget impact of the government’s election commitments is in fact $193.9 million. The net impact is $193.9 million over five years. For those opposite who were carrying on with $7 billion in election commitments over four or five years, it is a bit rich to be arguing that today. (Time expired.)

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (10.58): I think what we have seen in this motion today is a typical example of the Liberal Party taking some perfectly well understood language, rewriting it in a way that suits their narrative and seeking to destroy it.

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