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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 09 Hansard (Tuesday, 11 August 2015) . . Page.. 2567 ..

We live in a democracy where people want the ability to be heard, to have their voice. The reckless determination that this government seem to have to try and sign contracts before the election is not playing well out there in the community. It is arrogant and it is unnecessary. If this government were so convinced of the merit of light rail, so convinced of their arguments, they would take this to the election. They would get the mandate that they would deserve. They know that if they take this to the election in its current form, they are going to lose. That is what this is all about.

That is why they think, “If we get these contracts signed, that will, hopefully, take it all off the table.” But it will not. They will go to the election not only with this dud project hanging around their neck but with the bitter taste in the electorate’s mouth that this is the government that has tried to deny them their voice, their vote. They will respond, and they will respond in spades.

The government is saying, “You do not have your alternate plan.” We have outlined many times that there is an opportunity cost. When we have the full costs, all the details, we will be able to present, as we will in the lead-up to the election, what we would do with a billion dollars.

This is the problem this government have. If they are building light rail, if that is what they are going to do, we on this side have a billion dollars of different priorities. It might not be to spend all of that money on things. It might be health; it might be education; it might be public transport. Or it simply might be to say, “No. Whilst people’s rates are tripling, we will not be spending all that money.”

The debate that we have been having has made it very clear. The debate has been about whether light rail is viable. I again commend Mr Coe for the work he has done that demonstrates quite clearly on every aspect that it is not.

We have also started to release a number of policies. There is the duplication of Gundaroo Drive—the full duplication, not the half-baked effort from the government. There is the flyover on the Barton Highway. And, just in this budget alone, there is the alternative strategy for public transport. Part of it is the non-stop super express service—50 additional buses from every suburb across town that would go direct from that suburb into the parliamentary triangle and the city. The response that we have got on that has been very positive, and you will see more of it.

We are not going to be telling people, because we are still doing the work. We have been having a lot of debates within our party room. We have been engaging experts. There are a lot of exciting ideas coming forward. You will see them come forward. You will see that the alternative presented by the opposition is an alternative that is focused on all of Canberra—all of Canberra, not just the three per cent of people who happen to live within walking distance of the government’s light rail.

The government have a choice. They can steamroll this over the top of the people and deny them their say, and they can then wear that backlash at the ballot box, or they can have the courage of their convictions and go to the electorate without having imposed some sort of penalty clause on the people of Canberra for a contract. They

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