Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 09 Hansard (Wednesday, 23 August 2017) . . Page.. 3202 ..
In respect of insurance reform, you mentioned property developers before; that is not where we are going. Insurance reform is another issue you have shown your shady behaviour on. Ahead of both the 2012 and 2016 elections we saw a number of personal injury law firms making substantial donations to the Canberra Liberals. I cannot imagine that these personal injury law firms only discovered their passion for politics a decade into the 21st century. But there they were in 2012 handing over cash donations in record amounts. As an aside for those watching, they also made substantial donations to Chic Henry, another “independent” but, in reality, a sleeper cell who tried to trick the Canberra community into voting for him as an independent. Mr Wall just shrank into his seat when I mentioned that one.
Why would a well-established injury law firm make donations to an obscure minor party candidate? It is almost like they were let in on the Liberal shenanigans. And surprise, surprise, Madam Assistant Speaker! When insurance reform came before the Assembly in 2012, not only did the Liberals oppose every amendment put forward. They actually sought to reverse previous reforms that would add more time and legal costs to the injured parties if the amendments were to get up.
You know what, Madam Assistant Speaker? I am somewhat new to this place, as many members are. In no way do I claim to be an expert in how any vote in this place will go down. However, I am very curious how the Canberra Liberals will respond to the community panel on insurance reform announced by the Chief Minister yesterday.
I turn to the largest donation ever recorded in ACT politics. The donor, a prominent personal injury lawyer, claimed he was spurred to give the donation to the Canberra Liberals because of his concerns about the Manuka Oval redevelopment. A noble cause, indeed, except the Canberra Liberals were actually supporting the proposal. Mr Hanson very publicly stated that he endorsed the “significant and creative investment in the Manuka Oval precinct”. If you are going to line up donations for your policy flip-flops, can you at least get your story straight before you do it?
One cannot help but think that this donor’s record-breaking donation was more about influencing the Canberra Liberals’ ongoing support to quash insurance reform than it was to prop up the Canberra Liberals’ non-existent campaign to stop redevelopment at Manuka. What we see here is a pretty clear pattern. The Canberra Liberals’ policy is up to the highest bidder. Ideology be damned! Their suggestions that Labor members are under any sort of external influence reveals more about themselves than it does about us.
The Labor MLAs in this chamber are proudly bound by the ACT Labor Party; our policies are decided by our members and, yes, that does include trade unions. Labor’s policies reflect our longstanding values and ideals. Your policies reflect the last donation you got. I support the amended motion.
MR COE (Yerrabi—Leader of the Opposition) (11.17): I have been inspired to contribute to this debate by the insightful contributions of those opposite. What captured me in particular, Madam Assistant Speaker, was Mr Pettersson’s line when