Page 1659 - Week 06 - Tuesday, 7 May 2013
I note from Mr Seselja’s recent comments around the Planning and Development Act that he may wish to revisit that position, having indicated that he believes that community members should have greater rights to participate in the system. If that is the case, I would certainly be happy to bring back another bill in the same terms that Ms Le Couteur moved last term. Perhaps I should do it before August, when Mr Seselja’s views might be excised from his party room.
These are just a couple of examples of things the Greens have done and will be doing this year to improve government accountability. I have tried to illustrate the very large range of things that we can do on this issue. In light of what members have had to say, I think Canberrans can be encouraged that further significant reforms will be occurring in the near future.
Having made those remarks about the substantive matters, I cannot help making some observations about Mr Seselja’s discussion of the upcoming issue that the Canberra Business Council is facing around whether or not a budget debate will take place. I did interject a little. I always do my best not to interject, but when something becomes so preposterous as the position that Mr Seselja was putting, I find it difficult to restrain myself. Members will recall last year during the election campaign that the Canberra Business Council proposed to conduct an election debate and invited Mr Seselja as the then Leader of the Opposition, Ms Gallagher as the Chief Minister and Ms Hunter as the leader of the Greens at the time. There were three parties represented in the Assembly. The Greens held more than 20 per cent of the seats in the chamber. Mr Seselja refused to participate in the debate if Ms Hunter was represented on the panel.
What hypocrisy it was for Mr Seselja to stand up in the chamber today and make the observations that he did—the audacity of it. You have got to have some admiration for his shameless behaviour and his double standards in being prepared to stand in this chamber and put that. Now, the approach Mr Barr has taken to the debate is, I think, a debatable point, but Mr Seselja’s shameless hypocrisy in refusing to allow Ms Hunter to participate in the debate last year is extraordinary. I think it is worth simply making an observation about the incredible double standards that he is now displaying in his comments in the chamber today.
MR HANSON (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (4.23): Firstly, may I thank Mr Seselja for bringing this matter of public importance before this place. It is core business for an opposition to hold a government to account, to make sure that the public get as much information as they can about what this government are doing. It would appear that this government have the view that they have the opposite rule—to make sure that the public get as little information as possible.
What we see in this government—and I include the Greens in this—is a big difference between the rhetoric and the reality. They just do not deliver on their promises. Mr Seselja made some very good points about the data doctoring scandal, what has been going on at ACTEW and the farcical budget breakfast issue. Do not forget that there are a couple of others as well that were highlights from the last Assembly. Remember the Calvary issue? The Chief Minister had gone to the 2008 election and, 10 days