Page 3379 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 18 September 2013
MR HANSON (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (4.10): Finally—after what can only be described as a tedious and repetitious speech where Mr Barr probably said the same thing about 20 times: “When are the Liberals going to say something?” Of course, the problem was that it was very difficult for me to say anything when I am required to sit here and listen to the rubbish that I just heard from those opposite.
I am very happy to stand up and explain to members what has happened in this place. Mr Gentleman brought a motion into this place. They thought: “This is a bit of a wedge. Let’s wedge the Canberra Liberals. Let’s talk about NICTA funding and see where they go with it.” They have brought in a motion talking about NICTA and the federal government funding. Mr Doszpot, who is our shadow minister for ICT—we do take it seriously: we have created a shadow minister for ICT, and I would welcome the government doing something similar and providing the same level of support for our ICT community as the opposition does—spoke to the motion. We have indicated that we will be supporting the motion. We indicated that we would be supporting Mr Gentleman’s motion.
That caused the government a bit of a problem, so they scurried upstairs and said: “Hang on; this is meant to be a wedge. This is meant to be a wedge. We had better try and get the Canberra Liberals not to support this. What are we going to do? This is not working. This was not our plan.” So they all cooked up something over lunch. They said: “What we will do is this. Joy, you come back down and have some motion which will be just impossible for the opposition to support. We have got to get them to vote no against it. We need them to vote no against something.” So they have drawn up this nonsense amendment that clearly we are not going to support.
What we have done, and what we have expressed, through the support that we will provide to Mr Gentleman’s motion, is clearly an expression of bipartisan support for NICTA. Quite evidently that is the case.
If you got your motion wrong when you wrote it—if you do not think it was wedge-worthy enough, if it was not strong enough, if it did not do what you were trying to achieve from it, Mr Gentleman, which was play partisan politics—and that is clearly what it is—and it has backfired on you, that is not my problem. The fact is that you have come in here with a motion seeking our support. We have said we will give you our support. You have then decided that the wedge has failed and said, “Let’s come up with something else to try and wedge them.” That is what is happening here. It is amateur hour, Mr Assistant Speaker.
This is really an attack on the federal coalition, I suppose. I do not know if it is meant to be a wedge on us in part, but it is an attack on the federal coalition. I would remind members opposite that the election has been fought. I know that in this place sometimes—we have seen it from Mr Rattenbury and from the government—there is an attempt to raise issues in this place that people think might garner support in the community to try and help influence the vote in the ACT.
I remind you that there is now a coalition government, and it has been sworn in. The people of Australia have spoken loud and clear, and we now have a federal coalition