Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 13 Hansard (Thursday, 2 November 2017) . . Page.. 4881 ..
… although a charge or reflection upon the character or conduct of a Member may be made by substantive motion, in expressing that charge or reflection a Member may not use unparliamentary words;
I also recognise that this is a serious and emotive debate, but I ask that people have respect and regard for the gravity of this and allow members to be heard with the respect and regard the matter requires.
MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong) (10.39): As I said in my brief remarks last week, the Greens have looked at this matter closely and we have looked at each of the specific issues that Mr Coe flagged in his press release. I will address each of those in turn in my later remarks. The basis on which we have judged our response to this motion is what is spelt out in the parliamentary agreement. That publicly available document is clear. The Greens will not support any no confidence motion, except in instances of proven corruption, gross negligence or significant non-adherence to the agreement or the ministerial code of conduct.
That document is framed in that way to be clear. We have a clear desire for stability in government, but our support for government is not unconditional. We, of course, will not stand by and allow corruption or other inappropriate conduct to occur. Equally, we will not simply bring down a Chief Minister in response to a political attack by the opposition.
We know that is part of the business of this place. The opposition will inevitably seek to cast the government in the worst possible light. The judgement we have to make is whether this is part of the usual rough and tumble of politics or something more serious and substantive. That is the basis on which we have made our decision. We do not believe there is proven corruption in this case.
On the issue that Mr Coe has pointed to most clearly, the Dickson land deal, the Auditor-General has not yet even reported. The matter has rightly been handed to an independent oversight body so that we can get an objective finding and get beyond the political manoeuvring that is the feature of this place. With the Auditor-General’s work not even yet complete, it is hard to avoid the feeling that this motion today is more about politics than proven evidence.
A motion of no confidence is the highest civil action that can be brought against a Chief Minister here in the Assembly. It is a serious action and I think Mr Coe has stepped over the mark in thinking that dropping in a short phrase about the government’s engagement in corrupt decisions without providing the evidence is sufficient for the Assembly to stop everything and ponder his proposal.
Madam Speaker, there have not been many no confidence motions against chief ministers since self-government. This is the 12th, as far as I am aware, and the third in the nine years that I have been in this place. This motion asks every single member in this place to reflect on the actions taken by the Chief Minister, examine the evidence before us, and make a decision as to whether the Chief Minister has in fact lost the confidence of an absolute majority of members of the Assembly.