Page 3192 - Week 10 - Thursday, 15 August 2013

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

It is without question that our arts community in Canberra is healthy. Certainly there is a high level of participation and, across all forms and disciplines, I think we do punch above our weight and we should be pleased and proud to have such national institutions amongst us.

MR HANSON (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (8.36): I will be brief and speak to the point Ms Burch made about Megalo to set the record straight. If we were to review Hansard, what we would see from Ms Burch’s speeches, be it on education or the arts or any matter, is that she spends more than 50 per cent of her speech attacking the shadow minister. She is either attacking Mr Doszpot, attacking Mrs Dunne, attacking whoever she can.

Mr Barr: Lower ratio than your speeches attacking us!

MR HANSON: I hear the interjection from Mr Barr, and I advise him that the government is here to talk about its budget. The government is here to articulate the reason why we should vote for it. It is here to promote its budget and explain its budget. The role of the opposition—maybe it needs some explanation—is to scrutinise the budget and examine it. That seems to be a point lost on the government. It seems we are seeing this trend from those opposite that they pay more regard to us than they do to their own budget. We are hear more smear and negativity and attacks and cheap shots from those opposite than we hear about their own budget. That might just be because they have not got much to say or they are a little bit embarrassed by it. I do not know.

The only people who seem to have anything positive to say are, of course, Mr Gentleman and Dr Bourke. I admit they have a lot of positive things to say about the budget. When you refer, as Mr Gentleman did, to the recommendations in their dissenting about the arts section—I think recommendations 40 to about 52—it is very encouraging to see that they have so much nice stuff to say that they said it twice. Maybe Dr Bourke said it and then Mr Gentleman said it, because each one of those recommendations is repeated.

But the reason I stood up is to make very clear what the government’s position was and what we said about Megalo. There was a committee inquiry, and up until the 11th hour there was a tripartisan view about what should happen. Madam Deputy Speaker will remember it well. We heard the clear evidence that Megalo should have a purpose-built facility with money appropriated for that in the order of $4 million and the Fitters Workshop should be used as a multi-purpose facility. We heard the evidence, we wrote a report, and it was unanimous.

Then a mysterious figure arrived at this building in the form of Jon Stanhope. He turned up to this building at the 11th hour, and the very next day Ms Porter came back to the committee with her tail between her legs and went, “I’ve had a change of heart. It just came to me last night.” It was a remarkable coincidence that it came to her the same night that Jon Stanhope had visited the building. Mary Porter changed her mind.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video