Page 1804 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 8 June 2022
into every single sitting week and delivers sanctimonious lecture after sanctimonious lecture. But why would we be surprised? He spent very little time on the actual issue and accused me of delivering—what was it?—a “word salad”. This came from the man, who, last term, used the word “trousering” at length—whatever that means. He used the term “word salad”. Perhaps the Chief Minister has been getting some mentoring from that consultant.
The Chief Minister also talks about facts—“Let’s put the facts on the table,”—but, of course, he has left out some facts. Let us go through that. Fact: $8.87 million of taxpayer funds was spent on one contractor over the last five years. Fact: no-one is able to explain what $8.87 million of taxpayer funds is being spent on, or what benefit the CIT or the Canberra public are getting from it. Fact: the Minister for Skills admitted yesterday afternoon that he knew there was something dodgy about these contracts as early as March last year. So when the Chief Minister says, “Stop delivering this sanctimonious lecture because you have come to this place now with no information,” let us correct the record.
The minister was dodging media all morning. We found out yesterday afternoon that he knew about the dodginess of these contracts in March last year—15 months ago. Fact: after the minister knew about and asked about these dodgy contracts, the CIT signed two additional contracts worth a whopping $5.5 million of taxpayer funds. This all happened under his watch. Fact: the Greens continue to talk the talk when it comes to transparency. They continue to talk the talk when it comes to integrity. They continue to talk the talk when it comes to accountability. But, once again, when it comes to the vote, we see them putting their political alliance above the interests of the public.
In response to a couple of comments made by Mr Rattenbury, especially his accusations that I have somehow undermined the Auditor-General, let us set the record straight. He has talked about the fact that we do not have the power to direct the Auditor-General to undertake an investigation. I am with him on this. It is very serious, and I would be very surprised if the Auditor-General did not take this up, but that is entirely the purpose. I pointed out very clearly, in response to that motion yesterday—clearly, he was not listening—that the amendment brought by Minister Steel was, at best, weak. It was a classic example of him coming across as if they are taking this seriously when they are not, because they also know that we cannot direct the Auditor-General to undertake this investigation.
The other fact that Mr Rattenbury is missing is that, whether or not the Auditor-General undertakes this investigation, it is our job as the opposition to continue to hold this government to account. It is our job, but, somehow, in continuing to pursue that, according to him we are undermining the Auditor-General. That is beyond ludicrous, and it again demonstrates that the leaders of Labor and the Greens have a complete lack of regard or respect for the taxpayer and what they should expect from a government that has their best interests at heart.
I was not going to respond to Mr Gentleman because everything in his speech is a complete joke. He cannot deviate from the old talking points. I am actually surprised that he did not throw Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison in there for good measure!