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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 01 Hansard (Wednesday, 11 February 2015) . . Page.. 126 ..

They want this to be a partisan motion. I think this is the key here and it is very important that this go on the record here—that is, what we want to see from our side of this chamber is a bipartisan letter written by the Speaker that goes to the appropriate person in the government to say, “As a priority we want to see public servants stay in Canberra and we want to make sure that the department of immigration remains in Belconnen because of its importance to the Belconnen region.

What is pretty clear from both Mr Rattenbury and Dr Bourke’s speeches is that they see today as the opportunity for a political wedge. They think this is a good political opportunity for them. Dr Bourke’s speech was rife with political opportunism, attacks on Mr Dutton and attacks on the former immigration minister, Scott Morrison. It was not actually about the substance of the issue; it was much more about “Let’s have a go at the federal government because that might be to our political advantage.” Mrs Dunne, who has been an advocate for Belconnen since long before just about any of those opposite were in this place, has said, “Let’s be genuine about that. Let’s add to this motion. Let’s stand up for all jobs staying in Canberra. Let’s stand up for the department of immigration remaining in Belconnen.” She has made some very good points. She has made it very clear that this is not about a judgement about particular accommodation and the suitability of particular buildings; this is about the economy of Belconnen. That is the judgement we are making in this place today.

This is a clear expression of the fact that this side of the chamber will stand up for Canberra and our constituents first. It is not about who the minister is, whether they are Liberal or Labor; we will call it as we see it and we will support this motion in that context. When decisions were made by a federal Labor government that did not support Canberra—it could be Kevin Rudd cutting 14,500 jobs or the removal of public servants or the decision to put public servants elsewhere—those opposite were mute. But when those sorts of decisions are made by Liberal federal governments, we see a ramping up of the rhetoric.

If you want a genuine bipartisan approach to this so that we look after Canberra’s interests and the interests of those people in Belconnen that we all represent, let us make sure this is a bipartisan motion—which is the intent—and let us try to keep out of this motion some of the political attacks that are of no benefit. If you want a political attack, if you want a political fight, we can bring that on and we can talk about Scott Morrison’s record and what has happened in border protection over the years, and we will win that debate hands down. But that is not about this. Let us not bring that into it. Let us not have that debate where we descend into a political fight. Let us do what this motion purports to do and let us have a bipartisan approach to this. Let us get back to the issue, which is about looking after the people of Belconnen. Let us support Mrs Dunne’s amendment, which puts the people of Canberra and the people of Belconnen first, and let us try and get away from some of the political point-scoring we are seeing from those opposite. If you want to bring on political point-scoring about border protection we can have that debate if you want to, but I do not think this is the time or the place.

Smearing federal ministers is not going to help, Dr Bourke, when we are writing to those ministers asking them to make a favourable decision for the people of

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