Zed Seselja has been on his soapbox today letting Canberrans know about their government’s latest sneaky move.
Very late on Wednesday night the Legislative Assembly passed an amendment to the Land (Planning and Environment) Act, which takes away third party appeal rights in planning matters. Although Zed doesn’t explicitly state it in his press release, this was obviously aimed at quashing Terry Snow’s appeals against the controversial Epicentre development. It is quite peculiar that Zed was so indirect and it does make one question who he thinks he’s protecting by dancing around the issue.
The main point of Zed’s release is that the government avoided scrutiny by pushing this amendment through so late at night, and after the majority of the day had been taken up debating the no confidence motion against Jon Stanhope, with the backdrop of the astonishing storm.
Deb Foskey has also got on to the case. She seems, sensibly, less concerned about the effect on the appeal against the Epicentre and rather more about the lack of scrutiny.
â€œThe behaviour of this majority Government now more closely echoes that of the Howard Government on the hill than it does the first Stanhope Government with its apparent commitment to accountability and transparency.â€
So the government, having by dint of its numbers defeated a no confidence motion which questioned the competence of its leader, then used those same numbers to push through a retrospective amendment which will effectively stop a court action against it.
It’ll be interesting to see if Terry Snow takes this to the High Court as, being citizens of a liberal democracy, we are supposed to be protected against retrospective legislation.