Today Jenny spoke in favor of a motion to censure the Minister for Transport Andrew Constance for misleading the people of New South Wales and wasting $100,000 of tax-payer funds on a rigged ferry naming competition.
Ms JENNY LEONG ( Newtown ) ( 16:11 :46 ): Before speaking in debate on this censure motion I want to make it clear that Pemulwuy was an Aboriginal warrior. On14 November the Minister for Transport and Infrastructure tweeted:
It is not everyone's cup of tea, but the people voted for it so we listened.
Earlier this year a report from the Sydney Morning Herald exposed that only 182 out of 15,000 people voted for the name Ferry McFerryface. It was reported in the Sydney Morning Herald that this Minister made a captain's pick rather than going with the public favourite. The comments regarding the suspension of standing orders for this censure motion have made it clear that censure motions are serious. I acknowledge that the member for Lake Macquarie spoke on behalf of crossbench members and said that they should have the ability to speak in debate on censure motions. I acknowledge that crossbench members are still considering where they stand in relation to this censure motion. In this House The Greens have sometimes supported censure motions and sometimes they have not. We give censure motions a great deal of consideration.
In this case it is clear that the Minister must be censured because at the end of last year he made it clear that the name Ferry McFerryface had won by popular vote, but it had not. He claimed that he was listening to the people, but he was not. If he was listening to the people he would be aware that hundreds of thousands of commuters are impacted by the privatisation of our public transport system. He would be aware that thousands of residents in the inner west are opposed to the privatisation of our bus services. He would be aware that hundreds of people have got up every morning to ensure that trees in the inner city and our urban canopy are not destroyed by his privatised public transport projects. If he really cared and he had listened to the people he would be making Redfern station—one of the busiest stations in this State—accessible by putting in lifts. If he genuinely cared and he was listening to the people he would not have taken into account the fact that 182 people had voted to call a ferry Ferry McFerryface just for a headline in a newspaper in the lead-up to Christmas. Instead he should listen to the hundreds of thousands of people who want him to stop closing bus stops, to keep public transport in public hands and to deliver accessible transport for our community. Those are the people he should be listening to.
That is why The Greens support this censure motion and that is why my Greens colleague in the upper House Dr Mehreen Faruqi has written to the Governor seeking a special commission of inquiry to look into the systemic issues plaguing transport in New South Wales—bungled projects, inflated benefits, cost blowouts worth tens of billions of dollars, the targeting of public servants, the billions of dollars being poured into projects against the advice of the Government's own experts and the deliberate attempts to hide information from the public. Dr Faruqi says it is clear that the Premier and the transport Minister must be held accountable and finally forced to answer to the public. They have arrogantly refused to justify their actions until now, but a special commissioner would have the power to demand an explanation. It is clear that this censure motion is needed, and I acknowledge the member for Strathfield for moving it in this Parliament. We acknowledge that such motions are very serious, but it is clear that on 14 November when the transport Minister tweeted, "The people have spoken and we have listened", it was incorrect. The people had not spoken in favour of the name "Ferry McFerryface"; they had an alternative view.
As reported in the Sydney Morning Herald, this was a captain's pick and it was a failed pick. The arrogance of this Minister to allow members to debate this motion, to acknowledge that this was the case but to not stand up and say, "Actually, I'm sorry; I got it wrong. I thought it was going to be a funny joke; it fell flat on its face. My apologies", and not to have the confidence to say, "I'm sorry, I thought it was a funny joke; clearly I was wrong" and then move on is unacceptable to The Greens. That is why The Greens support this censure motion.