Page 3764 - Week 12 - Wednesday, 28 October 2015

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minister would even listen to them, I bet the Canberra Liberals would be whispering to them, begging them, saying, “Whatever you do, don’t fund Canberra’s light rail.” Former Liberal Senator Gary Humphries would probably be a minister now in the Turnbull ministry, representing progressive policies in Canberra’s interests. Instead, Zed Seselja, as his reward for losing election after election, was able to overthrow Gary Humphries for the Senate seat. Senator Seselja won the seat with the backing of the Machiavellian anti-light rail Mr Coe and his young Liberal foot soldiers. They were eager to get Zed out of the opposition leader’s office, perhaps clearing the way for Mr Coe to make his move.

After the Abbott overthrow, Mr Hanson said, “So far, from the Canberra Liberals’ point of view, we are probably one of the most, if not the most, stable political party in the nation.” I might add they are the least successful too, and now the only known Liberal branch to oppose light rail. We will now forever remember Zed Seselja as yesterday’s man bobbing at the back of Mr Abbott’s posse on his way to his execution as Liberal leader. As he followed Mr Abbott out again, surely Canberra Liberals let out a groan as Senator Seselja marched off to political oblivion. The Canberra Liberals have hitched their wagon to the arch conservative, climate change denying far right of the Liberal Party whose only transport policy starts with a V8.

I think the 2016 ACT election will be about the vision for Canberra’s future, which is about much more than light rail. However, it looks as though the Canberra Liberals will stake their whole claim for government on being the anti-tram party. If the Canberra Liberals win office next year, that puts a sensible transport mix off the agenda for almost a generation. Mr Hanson as Chief Minister is not going to consider it. His successor, Mr Coe, the original “can the tram” man, could not embrace a policy he has spent so long attacking. Perhaps the potential Liberal leader after him is not even elected to the Assembly yet. All we know is that if the Canberra Liberals win in 2016 we will have years of congestion ahead, and no attempted solution they choose will involve light rail for a generation. Even with their mentor Tony Abbott gone off to the fringes of conservatism, I cannot imagine that the Canberra Liberals will embrace a less ideological future and join the sensible centre where light rail is an investment in Canberra’s future.

I do not support Mr Coe’s amendment. I commend my motion to the Assembly.

Question put:

That the amendment be agreed to.

The Assembly voted—

Ayes 8

Noes 9

Mr Coe

Ms Lawder

Mr Barr

Ms Fitzharris

Mr Doszpot

Mr Smyth

Ms Berry

Mr Gentleman

Mrs Dunne

Mr Wall

Dr Bourke

Ms Porter

Mr Hanson

Ms Burch

Mr Rattenbury

Mrs Jones

Mr Corbell

Question so resolved in the negative.

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