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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 4 Hansard (3 May) . . Page.. 1139..


MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

that. One of the reasons why you have not got access to this is that it is an advisory document to the mechanism of governance in this town, the cabinet. And I have got some really sad news for you guys: you are not in it—and if you keep going the way you are you are never going to be in it. But I look forward to the day when perhaps—perhaps—Mr Stefaniak gives us the best chance of a good run for our money, but we will see about that as time goes by.

We got accused of not being open and accountable. Well, my conversations with the community were many and varied, with the disabled people in this town and with people interested in housing and community services. There were many, many of them, and I presented myself to them and then talked to them about government decisions. That is accountability. But the ultimate accountability, of course, is the election. Mrs Dunne, in her former guise as government whip—sitting right up the back of the stairs there, not in her present guise as Temporary Deputy Speaker—was saying that we are not the government we were in 2001. Well, hallelujah! That is because we spent the next part of our term undoing all of the craziness that we had inherited in 2001, and in 2004 the community said: "We like the way you guys are doing this. We think this is an open and transparent government and we think that other lot are absolutely rank hopeless."

Mr Gentleman: How much did they like us by?

MR HARGREAVES: Indeed, Mr Gentleman, indeed. The fact is that the community spoke and they spoke loudly. They trust this government to represent them. I have to say this to the Greens about their consultation process: they believe that everybody that comes into this place is a delegate of somebody; you will do as they tell you. It is a bit like Dennis Stevenson sitting outside the Cooleman Court shops when there was a significant vote on. He said; "Well, you know, the majority of people that come up to my stall at the Cooleman Court shops is the way I am going to vote when I get in the Assembly". We know what happened to him; the chinchilla kid has just moved on. The fact is that we are not delegates of a particular group; we are representative and we are put in this place so that we can take decisions with, we hope, some wisdom and some solid academic rigour—and that is actually what happens in this government.

We need to understand that the accusations about community consultation around the functional review are nothing short of gossamer and fairy floss. It is just junk—junk food for the intellectually impaired. It is not brain food; it is junk food for the intellectually impaired. Their argument is that we are not accountable to the people. But we have got estimates processes. Estimates processes are a reasonable way of holding people accountable, as are our standing committees, except for the PAC, which is chaired by one of the Harlem Globetrotters. The legislative process that we have here is pretty good in the accountability department.

I am particularly proud to be associated with this government and the way it goes about talking to its community, and I think the only whinge those opposite have which has any substance to it at all is that they have not got access to this document. And—guess what?—it ain't ever going to happen.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella—Leader of the Opposition) (4.23): It is interesting that the arguments we put are just dismissed because they do not meet the government's purpose. I think we have made a number of cases, particularly in how reliable is this report. I


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