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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 01 Hansard (Wednesday, 11 February 2015) . . Page.. 129 ..

MADAM DEPUTY SPEAKER: Resume your seat, Mr Barr. Stop the clock, please. I cannot hear what the minister is saying for the interjections. We are trying to reach some sort of agreement, it appears from what the minister is saying, so I suggest it would be helpful for you to listen so that we can proceed. I certainly have no idea what is being suggested because I cannot hear. I would appreciate a bit of shush. Mr Barr.

MR BARR: Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. As I was saying—and I will conclude on this point—achieving a unanimous outcome this morning would be a good thing and a mature thing for the Assembly to be able to do. Of course, we often find it difficult to reach that point, and people can reflect upon individuals’ contributions to reaching this final point, which I hope will be a unanimous agreement to Dr Bourke’s motion as it is listed, with one part of the amendment from Mrs Dunne. If those opposite could bring themselves to do that, we will have a unanimous outcome this morning.

MR COE (Ginninderra) (11.03): I, too, am happy to speak to this motion. Of course I very much endorse the amendment put forward by Mrs Dunne. It is most important that, above anything else, we are united as Team Canberra. That is so important. Whether we are travelling on a CPA trip together or simply going interstate for whatever business it is, I think being Team Canberra ahead of party politics is always an advantage. That is exactly what I regularly see happen at CPA conferences. Very rarely have I seen members of this Assembly on the same delegation bicker about party politics or speak about party politics at a CPA event. We are united as Team Canberra, and I think that is a very important message we need to send wherever possible.

That is what I believe Mrs Dunne’s addition of new paragraph (1A)—to declare its wish for commonwealth government departments to maintain their central offices in Canberra as a first priority—is all about. I am very pleased to hear from the Chief Minister that he, too, supports Mrs Dunne with that quest.

There is, of course, no doubt whatsoever about the important role the Department of Immigration and Border Protection plays in the Belconnen community, especially the Belconnen business community. That point is well and truly beyond question.

These sorts of motions can be problematic when, in effect, you have an open tender process, you have multiple private sector bidders going for a contract and where we are, in a way, picking sides. I believe it is not the intention of any member of this place to be explicit in wanting to support a particular property owner or developer. However, given it is an open tender and given individual property owners will stand to benefit from the decision, we have to have that in the backs of our minds when speaking to motions like this—that is, we are not seen to be explicitly supporting a developer or property owner rather than the best policy. I believe that is what Dr Bourke’s intention is. I am by no means questioning that; I am just reminding the Assembly of the importance of that.

Mrs Dunne has already articulated the case very well about the importance of the department to Belconnen, and I commend her for her words.

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