Page 4903 - Week 13 - Thursday, 2 November 2017
our expertise in community engagement to make sure that major decisions are underpinned by genuinely representative information about what our whole community really thinks. Our first citizens jury into compulsory third-party insurance is a good example of this.
Ministers are rightly subject to extensive scrutiny, including questions without notice, appearances before committees including budget estimates and annual reports hearings, and responding to questions in the chamber. Far from the opposition’s claims about the ACT, the ACT maintains an extraordinarily high level of credibility nationally and internationally. We have led the nation on many issues: tax reform, social inclusivity and domestic violence response, just to name a few.
Let us not forget that just over a year ago voters in Canberra endorsed the ACT Labor Party, giving us the highest number of first preference votes at the ACT election and allowing us to form government together with the ACT Greens Party. In contrast, there was a larger swing against the Liberal opposition.
What we see here today is immature, irresponsible and disrespectful. We saw just last week how seriously the Canberra Liberals really took this move—members opposite laughing openly about this motion, likening it to a choice between Mr Hanson doing a fitness class and a no-confidence motion—and again as recently as yesterday chortling about it in the chamber like children. It bore out their real motive: to get a headline. They actually think it is a joke. They were unprepared and do a deep disservice to the Legislative Assembly and to the community by their actions.
It is not a joke. It is the most serious motion this Assembly can consider, with one of the most serious accusations an opposition can make. But we should not be surprised. Colleagues, we have seen this before: a relentless campaign that starts as a whisper of slogans and mistruths and slowly builds to a crescendo of negativity and fear, the most orchestrated piece of sophistry you could imagine. It is opposition for opposition’s sake, relegating every other issue into one narrow prism, doing a disservice to every other aspect of policy or service delivery to meet the needs of people in our community. And make no mistake, we have seen similar campaigns federally by the Liberal Party. It is Canberra’s version of dog whistling, fear mongering, because all this opposition knows is how to play politics.
It is reminiscent of a replay of the case against light rail and notably, because the opposition are now utterly stranded on their position on light rail, it is, of course, likely to dominate their term. And since just over year ago, with the resounding response from our community, what we have seen mostly from this opposition is a glimpse of what a Liberal government would look like.
They are clearly anti-union. Most simply put last week by the shadow minister for small business and industrial relations when, in response to a charge that the opposition are anti-union, he gleefully shouted, “Hear, hear!” That means that the opposition are proudly anti 33,000 Canberra working people and their families: city services workers, schoolteachers, CIT teachers, nurses, ambos, public servants, bus drivers, librarians, construction workers and more. We know clearly where this opposition lie: anti-union, anti-women’s right to choose, anti safe schools for our kids.