Michelle Lensink

Charles Sturt Council

I did not intend to speak on this motion but, having listened to the hyperbole which had so little to do with the substance of the motion, I feel obliged to speak

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (12:35): I attended the meeting last week—

An honourable member: Was Bernie there?

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: No, Bernie wasn't there.

Members interjecting:

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: In fact, there were no members of the state Labor Party in attendance. May I say that the preceding speaker (the Hon. Bernard Finnigan) completely played the man and not the ball. He was full of personal attack and did not even mention the community. This is an issue to do with the community and local people. Fundamentally, it is about what the community think.

Members interjecting:


The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: And it is about the integrity of a decision—

The PRESIDENT: Government members will cease to wind up the Hon. Ms Lensink.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: Thank you, Mr President. I might get a rush of adrenaline and then who knows what I might say! This matter is about the integrity of a particular decision. We saw an extraordinary backflip by the Minister for State/Local Government Relations this week. In her rush to agree to a community land revocation—which I think the Hon. Mark Parnell articulated at the community meeting is not a decision that is usually taken very quickly—a decision was taken extremely quickly, and now that has been set aside. One must wonder why. The whole nature of this decision stinks.

Even the local mayor, in his address to council (or it may well have been as reported in the paper) said that it had been a very difficult decision for council. At that meeting there were several hundred people who were obviously very angry and distressed about the decision that was taken. Our local government spokesperson, the member for Kavel (Mark Goldsworthy), addressed the meeting, and I attended because, the Friday before, one of the groups—

The Hon. B.V. Finnigan interjecting:

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: They are all on council. Your little mate, Mr Paul Sykes, who is a Labor acolyte in training—

The Hon. B.V. Finnigan interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: Order! The Hon. Mr Finnigan had his go, and the Hon. Ms Lensink will stop debating across the chamber.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: You might like to go back to the Attorney's office and have your cookies and milk, like a good little boy.

The Hon. P. Holloway interjecting:

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: He doesn't, actually.

The PRESIDENT: Order! The Hon. Ms Lensink should not respond to out of order interjections from the Leader of the Government.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: Yes, I am sorry, Mr President; I deeply apologise for offending you. A lady by the name of Pam phoned me on the Friday and said, 'We're really quite desperate. Anything you can do to show support by just turning up and being there will demonstrate that you are there to assist us.' She said, 'Quite honestly, we've been snowed. We're all a bunch of mums and dads'—as is Kirsten Alexander, who has been one of the main spokespeople for the group—'and we suddenly realised, after this decision had been taken in June, what was going on'—that the council has agreed to what the government wants: to build on a piece of their park and swap it for a site that needs remediation.

An honourable member interjecting:

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: The council? But the council does not reflect the view of the community, and the consultation has been a sham. Speakers before me (in favour of this motion) have stated that other residents in local areas not far away are also very concerned about this decision.

The entire consultation process on this matter has been a sham. I think the government should hang its head in shame. It has little acolytes on council whom it tells what to do. Like the puppets that we all know they are, they deny that but they have ways of getting what they want. I think they realise that there might be some issues there. People at the meeting were calling to put Labor last, so there may be threats from independent Labor and other candidates there.

I think people have had their votes taken for granted, as they are in so many Labor electorates. Therefore, I support the motion. I think it is a decision which is in the best interests of the community but which has just been shoved under the rug; abandoned by Labor.

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