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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 13 Hansard (5 December) . . Page.. 4011..


MR MULCAHY (continuing):

It is quite clear that the minister did not think through the implications of introducing this holiday. It was proclaimed by way of a notifiable instrument, which made it impossible to bring it before this chamber and rescind it. I thought it was also conceived with a measure of trickery in implying that groups like the ACT chamber of commerce were part of the support group. In fact, it has now been revealed, after my FOI request, that all of those business groups that I mentioned were very strongly opposed to it. Indeed, many employees missed out on what was a very great part of our Australian culture—the sharing of activities in the office on cup day. Having an office lunch and an office sweep were ruined by Mr Barr's new approach.

Annual reports process

MS MacDONALD (Brindabella) (6.08): I want to talk about the annual reports process that occurred last week and an incident relating to the issuing of a press release last week by Mrs Burke in relation to the health and disability committee's consideration of annual reports. Last week, Mrs Burke put out a press release in which the following statement was made:

Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Minister for Health, Jacqui Burke, is questioning just how the Stanhope Government can justify one hour of scrutiny during the Annual Reports 2006-2007 Hearings of the most important portfolio in the ACT Government, health, which carries a budget in the order of $800 million ...

"Health Minister Katy Gallagher was only called to appear for one hour to be questioned on a report of over 300 pages which works out to be one minute's scrutiny for every $13.3 million spent in the health portfolio.

"The Opposition was out-voted on the Standing Committee on Health, dominated by Labor members, when it came to setting the timetable for the Health Minister's appearance. An afternoon's examination would have been reasonable for a budget of this size.

Mrs Burke then went on to make a few further comments, suggesting that Labor members were protecting the health minister, and there was the usual statement about the health minister not doing her job properly.

I want to make a few corrections in that regard, because Mrs Burke has once again got it wrong. There is no surprise there. I have checked, and on 7 February this year the committee decided on a date for the annual report hearings and that Minister Hargreaves and Minister Gallagher would be booked in for the whole day, which would have given them half a day each.

On 24 October, which was the last meeting that Ms Porter attended, the committee agreed to the timing, which included one hour for Health. There is no record of a vote—and there was no vote. So when Mrs Burke says she was out-voted, that is absolutely incorrect. She was not out-voted at all; there was no vote taken.

Mrs Burke: You'd made your minds up about how long things were going to be. Why did we have an hour for multicultural?


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