2 June 2022

Liberal MLAs on notice after Lee booted from Question Time on first sitting day

| Lottie Twyford
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Elizabeth Lee

Opposition Leader Elizabeth Lee was kicked out of Question Time yesterday (1 June) by Speaker Joy Burch. Photo: Region Media.

Speaker Joy Burch has described the behaviour of Liberal MLAs during Question Time yesterday as ”well past the point of unacceptability”.

Opposition Leader Elizabeth Lee was ultimately booted from the chamber after making a series of interjections as her colleagues across the floor were speaking.

In a later Tweet, Ms Lee said she had been “kicked out for continuing to hold this Labor-Greens government to account including why they continue to deny Canberrans land for housing.”

“Canberrans deserve more transparency instead of a government intent on shutting down scrutiny,” Ms Lee posted.

Things began to get heated when Canberra Liberals MLA Mark Parton referenced a recent ABC News article that said gambling money flowing to political parties was most extreme in the ACT.

Of this, “more than $12.5 million of the nearly $13 million gambling groups donated in the ACT in the decade to June 2020 went to the ALP and its associated entities”.

Andrew Barr

Chief Minister Andrew Barr in the Legislative Assembly. Photo: Region Media.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr responded to Mr Parton by saying the Labor Party had “moved away” from profiting from poker machine revenue directly.

But the Canberra Liberals questioned the Labor Party’s investment vehicle and where funds were flowing from and to.

Throughout his explanation, Canberra Liberal MLAs could be heard laughing and interjecting.

READ ALSO Not ‘appy: government told online gambling harm as dangerous as pokies

In a remark which cannot be heard properly other than the word “laundering”, Mr Hanson made a comment which conflated the Labor Party with money laundering. Mr Hanson was told to withdraw the comment, which he subsequently did.

The Chief Minister called the accusation of money laundering “outrageous”.

“That is about as grubby as it gets … disgraceful, disgraceful behaviour. Using parliamentary privilege to suggest something like that is disgraceful and it is not worthy of this place,” Mr Barr said.

“Do better. Politics should be better than this.”

Speaker Joy Burch

Speaker Joy Burch warned Ms Lee that her conduct was unacceptable before booting her from the chamber. Photo: Region Media.

The Opposition Leader was then warned as she continued to laugh loudly throughout Mr Barr’s remarks, which led Ms Burch to issue a stern rebuke.

“The behaviour so far today on interjections has been well past the point of acceptability,” the Speaker told the Assembly.

“My tolerance is exhausted.”

However, this was not the end of Ms Lee’s interjections.

READ ALSO Young single renter in an untenable market – HomeGround to the rescue

In the end, it was the issue of housing and land release that pushed her to make additional commentary while Minister for Housing and Suburban Development Yvette Berry was speaking.

This was the final straw for Ms Burch who named Ms Lee. She was subsequently removed from the chamber.

It marked a tumultuous start to a double sitting week block.

The Assembly will sit again today (2 June) and next week from Tuesday (7 June) to Thursday (9 June).

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The party’s over Elizabeth!

Death spiral, Elizabeth. Death spiral. Will your wiki page read ‘last leader of the ACT liberals’? Put your ear to the ground for your own humility- the party clearly hasn’t any.

Very disappointing that fresh out of a state and federal election where community wishes have been made very clear, that the Canberra Liberals are back to pushing to pave over the pristine wilderness south of Tuggeranong. It would be completely destroyed.

If they persist with this then they have already lost the next election too as the community is *not* supportive of mindless urban sprawl and senseless destruction of what makes Canberra unique and wonderful.

I hope for their sake that they drop Zed’s lunacy and toxic legacy immediately. Move on.

The Canberra Liberals are now free of Zed so they move closer to the community or just continue antagonising it. I hope they wake up and pursue the former.

Nope, they slip further into a death spiral. The beginning of the end for them is near. They just do not get it.

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