15 August 2022

Barr survives 'waste-of-time' no-confidence motion

| Lottie Twyford
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Andrew Barr in the Legislative Assembly

Chief Minister Andrew Barr described the Canberra Liberals’ no-confidence motion as a waste of time. Photo: Region.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr has this morning comfortably survived a no-confidence motion brought by Opposition Leader Elizabeth Lee in an attempt to oust him from his position.

Ms Lee earlier this month gave notice of the no-confidence motion following an announcement from the Greens that they would vote against one item of spending in the Territory Budget.

It’s the first time the Greens will do so and relates to a $41 million government subsidy to the horse racing industry.

Greens leader Shane Rattenbury said he would prefer the money be used for other purposes. The party has consistently opposed public funding to the racing industry.

Ms Lee has argued this position meant the Chief Minister was unable to guarantee supply.

Elizabeth Lee in the Legislative Assembly

Opposition Leader Elizabeth Lee said the ‘shambolic’ government was falling apart. Photo: Region.

Ms Lee told the Assembly the government was fractured, divided and shambolic.

“This fractured government is falling apart. Ministers are now indicating they will be voting against their own government,” she said.

“This cannot and must not go on. The Chief Minister has lost control of his government and we have lost confidence in this Chief Minister.

“The entire debacle is an insult to everything we know about good government.”

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Mr Barr rejected the premise of the motion.

“There is no basis for it and it has no chance of succeeding,” he said.

“Let’s be clear, the Greens have not threatened to block supply, nor have they lost confidence in the government of which they are a part.”

Mr Rattenbury reiterated that the Greens had not lost confidence in the Chief Minister. He already put that on the public record earlier this month.

“We have a government made up of two different political parties … we have disagreements, and sometimes we formally don’t support the others’ positions … as the Greens have done on a variety of issues, ” he said

“Yet we cooperate and debate and govern in the interests of the Canberra community.

“No one wants or expects the government to dissolve just because the two parties disagree on any singular issue.”

Other members of Labor and the Greens also made comments about the motion from the Opposition being little more than a stunt or a headline grab.

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A special sitting of the ACT Legislative Assembly was required this morning as at least a week’s notice is needed before the Assembly can debate a motion of no-confidence in the Chief Minister.

Mr Barr also survived a no-confidence motion in 2017 brought by then-Opposition Leader Alistair Coe.

This year alone, the Canberra Liberals have brought no-confidence motions against Education Minister Yvette Berry following the revelations of bullying and violence and the barring of students from Calwell High campus, and Skills Minister Chris Steel after the Canberra Institute of Technology contracts scandal.

Both ministers comfortably survived their no-confidence motions as well.

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I have such serious concerns with this local Liberal party and its capacity to progress under the leadership of Elizabeth Lee. Unfortunately there is no-one else to lead the party and move forward! The last ACT election results show that the Canberra Liberals are a party in decline. The party has been deteriorating and in opposition for 21 years and is currently in its death throes! With a diminishing membership it is embarrassing to watch. What a gross waste of parliamentary processes this latest no confidence motion is! Elizabeth Lee showed her contempt for the motion, a debate that she brought on, by her behaviour, interrupting and talking over the top of speakers and giggling away while her bovver boy Jeremy Hanson tried to defend the indefensible! The party’s over Elizabeth!!

I don’t understand how Lee thought this would make the Liberals look good. Rattenbury already stated he was not going to block supply, only that they were going to move an amendment to a single line item in the budget. And yet she makes it sound like the two parties are at each others throats over the budget with lines like “This is a deeply divided and shambolic Government” and “This fractured Government is falling apart”.

Is she stupid, or does she think Canberrans are? I honestly want to know how this was supposed to come across.

I feel for the ACT Liberals, an opposition that’s trying to bite the governments ankle to get some sort of win but keeps failing.

Sad and pity…so much so that a part of me wants to cheer for them.

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