Jenny Leong MP, Greens Member for Newtown has expressed her disappointment that the Liberals and Nationals refuse to provide the public with the details of the deal between them.
Ms JENNY LEONG (Newtown) (17:41:20): In reply: I acknowledge the contributions by members representing the electorates of Balmain, The Entrance, Port Stephens, Oxley, Ballina and Kiama to this public interest debate. I express my lack of surprise that the Government's response to our calls to get some kind of detail around the secret deal between the Liberals and The Nationals is simply to deflect by talking about preference deals between parties during elections. There is a huge difference between what we are talking about in this motion. I assure the Liberals and The Nationals that, despite the uncomfortable way in which they have responded—the fact that they simultaneously tried to claim it is all on the public record already yet refused to give details of the deal or table anything about it—we will not stop asking questions about it after this public interest debate has concluded.
I have a genuine belief it is in the public interest to know what the arrangement is. I will continue to talk about this deal. I will continue for a long time to highlight the secrecy that determines who gets to dictate who are Ministers in this State as a result of this deal that no-one gets to see. I note it was pointed out in the debate that The Greens are protesting, we are doing this and doing that. I am a proud member of a party that engages and supports peaceful protest. I absolutely recognise—just as Bob Brown did all those years ago—that sometimes these Chambers fail to deliver what the community needs. Sometimes we need robust, non-violent, direct action and peaceful protest to demand the elite powers that be in this place listen to the needs of the community.
I will never step back from the fact that I stood up for justice in The Domain and supported Aboriginal families whose members were dying in police custody at the hands of police. I will never, ever step back from that. I will stand up for people's rights to peaceful assembly and to peaceful protest because that is why I am in this place. But that is not what we are debating today. Again, that was a deflection and an attempt to discredit my place in this Chamber. I am saying that the secret deal between the Liberals and The Nationals is infecting our understanding of how democracy works in this State. We will keep asking these questions; we will keep pushing journalists to ask them. We will keep pushing the public to ask what is the deal that determines a Nationals member gets to be Deputy Premier and Nationals members are Ministers in this State. What is the deal that determines this power-sharing arrangement, who knows about it and why does the Parliament not know about it?