Opposition Leader Elizabeth Lee has hit out at insubstantial “joke” motions being brought forward for debate by ACT Labor backbenchers.
On Thursday (9 June), Michael Pettersson moved a motion in the ACT Legislative Assembly calling on the government to acknowledge the commitments made by Federal Labor to the Territory during the election campaign.
It added the ACT Government should work “collaboratively with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and his majority Labor Government to deliver their election commitments in the ACT” and “all Members of the 47th Parliament of Australia to ensure that the interests of the ACT are well served”.
Canberra Liberals Leader Elizabeth Lee said the motion was unnecessary as it was calling for something that was already “a given”.
“We see a Labor backbencher calling on his leader to work collaboratively with the Federal Labor leader – I would have thought that was a given,” she told reporters.
“If the Chief Minister needs a backbencher to come into the chamber and call for him to do it, well, that speaks volumes about the lack of confidence the backbencher has in his own leader.
“It’s a given that any Chief Minister … would work collaboratively with the Federal Government to get the best outcomes for Canberra … no matter what party they are from.”
Ms Lee told the chamber she was “very confused” about the point of the motion.
“Enough of this self-congratulation … you got 30 per cent of the [primary] vote nationally. Get off your high horse and have some humility – it’s a privilege to be elected,” she said in the Assembly.
Ms Lee argued two Labor members had yesterday described her no-confidence motion in Minister for Skills Chris Steel following revelations of $8 million in taxpayer money of impossible to understand contracts to one consultant as a “waste of time”.
That debate had taken over an hour and a half and Mr Steel ultimately survived the motion.
Mr Pettersson, however, rejected Ms Lee’s claims and said she had misunderstood the point of his motion.
He said politics could be done differently and it could be done collaboratively.
“The new Labor-majority government has made a lot of election commitments to the ACT and I think it’s important the ACT Government works with the new government to deliver them.”
When asked whether there would have been any likelihood of the ACT Labor-Greens Government not working closely with an Albanese Government, he did not respond.
Instead, Mr Pettersson said he “hoped the chamber would vote for it”.
“The real story from this election are the huge gains made by Labor across the country,” Mr Pettersson told the Assembly.
“It is clear that Canberrans voted for change and the Labor Party.”
The ACT Greens supported the motion but Leader Shane Rattenbury characterised the election as a win for minor parties and independents, given both Labor and the Coalition’s primary votes had fallen.
“This fracturing of the political geography is a win … I hope we will see a change in policy, particularly on climate action,” he said.