Page 4880 - Week 13 - Thursday, 2 November 2017

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Madam Speaker, what we have seen this morning is a stunt from the leader of the opposition, an exercise in smear over substance. To bring on a no-confidence motion is an overreach and it is staggering in its malice. I have treated this motion seriously because it is the most serious one that can be moved in this place. But this debate is the clearest sign of an opposition bereft of ideas and direction.

The current opposition leader’s one idea in the last parliamentary term was to rip up the light rail contract. It was a political disaster for him and his then leader, and for the Canberra Liberal Party it was an act of lunacy that was rejected by the electorate. And as the last leader forced out by this hopelessly divided Liberal Party said on election night, “to argue against the tram was always going to be a hard ask,” and Mr Coe’s effort “has not been enough.” Yet his colleagues rewarded this stroke of political genius with the party leadership.

As today’s stunt demonstrates, this current leader of the opposition is all about playing politics. He refuses to share with us and the broader Canberra community what he genuinely believes in because he knows how unpalatable his extreme conservative views are to our inclusive, progressive and welcoming city. That is why he refuses to explain exactly why he is so opposed to marriage equality, the only major party leader in this country in any state or territory to be so. Every other political leader in this country says yes, but this man says no. It is why he refuses to explain his continued opposition to safe and legal abortion. It is why he refuses to reveal his position on stage two of light rail. Instead, he seeks to hide his hard line conservatism behind smear and baseless allegation.

I and every member of this government will continue to serve the people of Canberra despite the antics of those opposite. We will put Canberrans first over political point scoring. We have done so this week and we will continue to do so into the future. In my time in this place as a member, as a minister and as Chief Minister, I have always sought to put the interests of this city and its people first. One year into this term, my government is honouring our commitment to Canberrans and delivering exactly what we promised.

In a democracy not everyone will agree with the government and our plans for this city. But last year’s election demonstrates that the majority of Canberrans share our vision for this city. They are proud of our community and they want their local representatives to be striving every day to make this city a better place. I thank my colleagues for their support in delivering a better Canberra, and I reject the opposition leader’s motion today.

MADAM SPEAKER: Before I call Mr Rattenbury, I remind members of clause 10.74 of the companion to the standing orders:

… Members can direct a charge against other Members or reflect upon their character or conduct only through a substantive motion which admits of a distinct vote of the Assembly.

But it also states:

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