ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope was suspended from the ACT Legislative Assembly for 3 hours on August 20th. The suspension was issued by the Speaker, Wayne Berry, in response to Mr Stanhopes continued interjections during a debate on health.
Mr Stanhope now becomes the the first sitting chief minister to be suspended from the Assembly.
In a surprising move however, Mr Stanhopes colleagues, Karin Macdonald and Deputy Chief Minister Katy Gallagher, showed no support for Mr Stanhope even though the Speaker gave them several oppotunities to call a dvision to overturn the vote to throw Mr Stanhope out.
According to a report in The Age:
Mr Stanhope says he simply didn’t hear the Speaker’s warnings.
“The Speaker actually did make a direction in relation to interjections which I regrettably didn’t hear,” the chief minister told reporters outside the assembly.
“I am now suspended for the course of question time. I do regret that, it’s a real pity.”
A real pity – is that the best our Chief Minister can say? Missing three hours of Assembly Question and Answer time, because he ‘simply didn’t hear the Speaker’s warnings’. It is disgusting.
However, I question the whole situation. The ACT holds its local election in October, literally weeks away, and given the length of time Mr Stanhope has been Chief Minister you would think he would know better.
In an ACT Liberal Party Media Release on August 20th, the leader of the Liberal Party Zed Seselja states:
“Glass Jaw Stanhope is back,” said Zed Seselja, Liberal leader.
“Today we saw the mask of statesmanship fall away and the true face of anger emerge in all its fury.”
“What is even more extraordinary is that none of his colleagues would defend him,” continued Seselja.
“The Labor cabinet has deserted him. The Labor speaker has ejected him. This is Labor in complete chaos, led there by their leader’s uncontrollable temper.”
“It is a reflection of how unfit Jon Stanhope is to continue in his present role.”
Thanks to the ABC, the events were captured on video:
From a rate payers perspective, I would agree with Mr Seselja’s statement. Jon Stanhope is known for his ability to say abolutely nothing when responding to questions on talk back radio, and take a long time in doing so. I cringe when I hear Mr Stanhope speak and I believe that he shows a thinly disguised level of scorn for his constituents by refusing to provide answers to reasonable questions.
Our rates and cost of living has risen, with no discernable increase in our conditions. In my opinion, the ACT Health Care system is in disarray and Education is a shambles. Instead of focussing on the business of governing our fair city, Mr Stanhope acts in such a poor manner that he must be removed from the Assembly.
Is this really the man, and the party that you wish to have determining our policies?