Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008-2009 Week 1 Hansard (9 December) . . Page.. 62..
MR SMYTH (continuing):
urgency. Yesterday, I actually requested a briefing on this bill. I have heard what the government said—that it was urgent—and thought that we might get ahead of the game and, in the spirit of cooperation that appears to be affecting some in this place, I thought that we might be able, through the new Treasurer, to get a briefing so that we might be able to say, "Yes, this can go through quickly,"but unfortunately that was not accorded to me. I am not aware of others in this place who have had briefings before the bill was tabled, but if we are going to do things urgently, and if we really want to make the process of passing bills like this work properly, of course the government—as some ministers did in the last Assembly—can get ahead of the game.
Unfortunately, I was advised this morning that a briefing would be arranged after the bill had been tabled. So, unfortunately, the government, and in particular now the new Treasurer—
Ms Gallagher: You can have one at lunch, Brendan.
MR SMYTH: Sorry?
Ms Gallagher: You can have one at lunch.
MR SMYTH: I can have one at lunchtime. Thank you very much. We could have had one at lunchtime yesterday and we could have avoided this debate.
Ms Gallagher: I don't trust you.
MR SMYTH: The minister says, "We don't trust you."
Ms Gallagher: No, I don't trust you.
MR SMYTH: Briefings have been given in confidence before, and you know that. The whole point is that this demonstrates the continuing arrogance of the Stanhope government, and it has been passed from the old Treasurer to the new Treasurer. I think that is very disappointing. I would suggest that the Greens take a careful note of the arrogant attitude that we are seeing displayed here this afternoon.
It is also important to consider scrutiny, and the key role of any parliament is to scrutinise spending proposals from the government of the day, particularly in terms of the—
Debate interrupted in accordance with standing order 74 and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for a later hour.
Sitting suspended from 12.29 to 2.30 pm.
Questions without notice
MR SESELJA: My question is to the Treasurer. In the Canberra Times of 5 December 2008 you are quoted as saying "there will be a definite deficit next year".