Page 3518 - Week 09 - Thursday, 23 August 2018

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MADAM ASSISTANT SPEAKER: Thank you, Mr Wall. I will do so and get some advice from the Clerk. Perhaps I could ask Madam Speaker to come back and talk about some of those reflections.

MISS C BURCH (Kurrajong) (11.22): On 7 June Ms Cheyne rose in this place to make accusations in an adjournment speech. She said that I had made misleading and dishonest comments on my Facebook page. Ms Cheyne reminded me to reflect on these actions. However, she chose to wait until right at the end of the sitting day before the winter recess to make these comments without actually giving me a chance to respond.

As would have been appropriate, she should have allowed me to respond in this chamber before writing to the standards commissioner about the Facebook post in question. I did not think it was appropriate then to respond in this place while this was still considered by the standards commissioner. So I rise today to respond to these accusations.

The day after the 2018 ACT budget was announced, I made a Facebook post that included the following text:

This budget saw rates, fees and charges continue to rise, yet Canberrans just aren’t receiving the basic local services that we deserve.

The post went on to say:

Labor has tripled your rates … but failed to increase weekend and evening bus services.”

Admittedly, I was rather confused when I first heard of Ms Cheyne’s accusations and I am still not quite sure whether it is a lesson in budgeting or a lesson in reading comprehension that she requires. Ms Cheyne’s main issue of contention seems to be that a month earlier on 9 May the Minister for Transport and City Services had said that the government was “looking to” expand the light rail timetable and “looking to” expand rapid bus services.

Looking to do something is not the same as actually doing something. It may surprise Ms Cheyne to know that the opposition does not often take the government at their word. It is only this morning that we have received an update from the minister on the motion discussed on 9 May.

Further to this, the context of my post was the ACT budget, which had been announced the previous day and was referenced in the post itself and not, as Ms Cheyne seemed to believe, in the motion that had been debated in the Assembly a month earlier. Any reasonable person would surmise that if the government is looking to provide additional services within a financial year they would need to allocate additional budget funding in order to do so.

I find it ironic that Ms Cheyne has accused me in this place of misleading and dishonest comments on social media and, in her complaint to the standards

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