April 14, 2019: Updates for clarity and removing errors
The proposed second stage of the light rail system in Canberra has a snag – it’s passing through land reserved to the Federal Government – and traitorous senator Zed Seselja really wants you to know that.
Seselja’s party, the Canberra Liberals, turned the 2016 ACT general election into a referendum on the first stage of the light rail system, which when it begins operation in early 2019 will run between the City and Gungahlin. Because the ACT is a considerably more progressive electorate, Seselja’s successor as Opposition Leader Jeremy Hanson lost and Andrew Barr won a record 5th consecutive term for ACT Labor.
Clearly outraged by his party’s quickly diminishing power over the country, he’s now trying to use the Federal government’s unchecked power over the territories to interfere with what is arguably the most important infrastructure project in many years. Stage 2’s proposed route passes through the Parliamentary Triangle to get to Woden. This means that the Parliament will have to approve of the construction under Section 5 of the Parliament Act 1972. Seselja has said that he will try to use the Liberal’s numbers in Federal parliament to force a Parliamentary inquiry. Telling Fairfax:
“They didn’t get the process right the first time around,”
With all due respect, Senator. They did. They took it to an election and won. You lost, like you did in 2008 and like you did in 2012. He continues:
“Once [Labor] signed the parliamentary agreement with the Greens they stopped genuinely listening the community.”
Of course, it was the Canberra Liberals trying to woo the Greens with support for the very same light rail system in 2008 – then led by, because of course it was, Zed Seselja.
“The parliamentary triangle is of national interest and the light rail is of local interest.”
If the light rail is “of local interest”, then why create a national debate around it? Seselja claims to be taking a “constructive” approach and denies taking a “obstructive” approach. Of course, if his party didn’t run such a hypocritical vehement campaign against it in recent memory perhaps that argument would be valid. Surely, its in the national interest for the capital of the country to have an effective public transport system so that its residents – of whom 42% work for either the Commonwealth or Territory government – can get to work and access businesses across Canberra’s town centres.
“I want to make sure Canberrans get bang for their buck.”
Well then surely, that’s a matter for the Territory Government and its committees. Not the Federal Parliament. Of course, the Government wouldn’t pursue such a project without a business case and the one that’s there is quite compelling. A constantly running transport route that runs through the most populous areas of the city that doesn’t get stuck in traffic? Raising land values immediately around its route? I’m failing to see the flaws here except for temporary papercut issues. Yes, some Gungahlin businesses are suffering due to being blocked by construction sites. That is not permanent and the project is on track for completion very soon. If these select unfortunate few haven’t gone insolvent by now, they’ll be fine.
Such an interference in what is clearly a territory matter would be near-unprecedented; entirely unprecedented from a Territory representative, for usually (i.e. euthanasia) it’s the state elitists peddling such nonsense. Especially since we hate it when people we don’t elect, the Senators and Representatives from the States, try to influence the Government that we do.