Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 23 September 2015) . . Page.. 3436 ..

successful because we have stood by it. The Chief Minister said he wants to send a message to our federal colleagues.

The question is: what message is he sending to our Chinese friends? When he goes there he accepts their hospitality. They have the discussions and as a result of those discussions he comes back to this place and he says—I will read it again, because I am quite gobsmacked that he is walking away in this way:

This was an opportunity to brief and update the ambassador on the ACT government’s high-level priorities on key developments and projects in Canberra and to discuss the Australia-China relationship as well as the specific Canberra-Beijing sister city relationship.

He goes on to say:

Discussion also focused on the opportunities presented following the recent completion of negotiations for a China-Australia free trade agreement. The agreement presents major trade and export opportunities in the tourism, education, healthcare and professional services sectors

He did not mention anything about modifying the agreement or sending messages to our federal colleagues. This is the problem with the modern Labor Party: they say what they think will suit them and will appease people on any occasion, and they simply walk away from it at the next.

This is a good motion. It should be passed in its entirety. The Chief Minister knows that. The Chief Minister has said that. The Chief Minister has tweeted that. The Chief Minister has reported that. The Chief Minister has told his Assembly that. Yet today, for reasons that he has not explained—we will give him leave to speak again to explain the reasons—he is not supporting this. There are protections in the agreement. There are protections in the IFA. This is simply in response to the CFMEU’s campaign. That is all it is about. He did not stand up when I moved my motion in August and said that we should reject the xenophobic approach that the CFMEU has taken, and he is now falling prey to it today.

What message does it send to the business community when he says, “We understand the business community wants this and we will make it happen because there are opportunities”? What does it tell members of the local Chinese community when he goes to great pains to describe in his document “two per cent of the population are Chinese born”? Mandarin is the most spoken language after English in the territory—5½ thousand students. It is all in the document. He stands for something until something brings him low, and he needs to explain. We will not be supporting the amendment.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (4.24): I will be supporting Mr Barr’s amendment. As I alluded to earlier, I think the broader part of Mr Smyth’s motion around acknowledging the 15 years of the sister city relationship is well worth supporting. I think that those elements of Mr Smyth’s motion are quite fair and accurate and I think that, as an Assembly, there is an acknowledgement that the sister city relationship has brought benefits. It has improved understanding. It has broken down barriers. And that is something we should all be striving for.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video