Page 2464 - Week 08 - Thursday, 6 August 2015

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Public consultations

Discussion of matter of public importance

MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Dr Bourke): Madam Speaker has received letters from Dr Bourke, Mr Doszpot, Ms Fitzharris, Mr Hanson, Ms Porter, Mr Smyth and Mr Wall proposing that matters of public importance be submitted to the Assembly. In accordance with standing order 79, Madam Speaker has determined that the matter proposed by Mr Hanson be submitted to the Assembly, namely:

The importance of genuine public consultations in the ACT.

MR HANSON (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (3.33): I am delighted to be able to talk about this very important issue of consulting with our community here in the ACT. It is particularly relevant given the fact that we have members of the Mocca community here today, following on from the questions asked in question time. I know other members of the opposition are keen to speak about a variety of issues, including the very important issue of Mocca. It serves to highlight that if you do not participate as a government in genuine community consultation then you do not bring the community with you. You end up in a situation where the community is concerned, the level of angst increases, the level of confusion increases and there are no winners. The government does not win; the community does not win.

What we have seen, sadly, time and time again from this government is a failure in consultation—the inability of this government to understand the fundamental requirement of the importance of bringing the community with you. The community will not always agree, but if they feel they have had their fair say, if they feel they have been heard, if they feel that, where possible, their suggestions, their ideas and their legitimate concerns have been listened to, you are more likely to get a better outcome all around.

It is clear that when it comes to the issue of Mocca the community feel they have not been properly consulted. There are many media articles to this effect, and question time today exemplified that. If he gets time, Mr Doszpot will again highlight some of those issues today.

Before I go to some more topical issues, I indicate that this government has a very dismal track record. I will give you some of the greatest hits—the important issues. On the eve of the 2004 election Ms Gallagher’s spokesman went out into the community and said that there would no school closures by this government. Within days of that election, what happened? This Labor government started the process of shutting 23 schools. It went to an election denying it; immediately after the election it started it.

They did it again at the next election. They went to the election—again it was Ms Gallagher—and said, “All our plans are on the table.” But we know that at the time that was not true because behind closed doors there were secret negotiations occurring between Calvary, as in the Little Company of Mary Health Care, and the

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