Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 4 Hansard (4 May) . . Page.. 1193..
MRS DUNNE (continuing):
travesty of the committee process."What are we seeing in here today? The Stanhope Labor government is making a travesty of the estimates process.
MR SPEAKER: Mrs Dunne, withdraw "hypocrite".
MRS DUNNE: I withdraw "hypocrite".
MS MacDONALD (Brindabella) (11.38): Mrs Dunne spoke about the fact that she had sat on an estimates committee with me and Mr Hargreaves and then went on to compliment Mr Hargreaves on being a good member of an estimates committee. I can only assume from that that she thinks that I was not any good. I found it interesting that Mrs Dunne made all those comments about last year's estimates committee process as she was not even here then; she was in Spain. I note that she has walked out the door now because she cannot bear to listen to me say what actually went on.
It is true that I was chair of the estimates committee last year and there were quite a few comments made in the lead-up to the establishment of the committee in the first place. Mrs Dunne is on record in terms of what she said about the establishment back then. I believe that Mrs Dunne actually flung a few criticisms about concerning Dr Foskey making dodgy deals with the government in terms of what was going on with the establishment of the committee and the appointment of the chair, et cetera. I am not going to go through the entire debate of last year, but I would make the point that I took the role very seriously last year and Mr Mulcahy and Mr Seselja did not make the process easy for me or for the committee secretariat.
Mr Pratt: Ha, ha! They were struggling with you.
MS MacDONALD: Mr Pratt scoffs. Mr Pratt had a huge dummy spit during the estimates committee process because I would not allow him to ask a question at five minutes past six o'clock. I gave precedence to members of the committee, as I had outlined at the very beginning of the process. I sent letters to all members of the Assembly stating that I would be putting into practice the fact that members of the committee would get precedence. I note that Mr Pratt and Mr Stefaniak both had little dummy spits and both stormed out on a couple of occasions because they did not get precedence.
There were lots of accusations last year that I had stifled debate whenever anything got hard. I had my office go through the statistics and, when it came down to the statistics, it was the opposition that had the lion's share of the questions and the answers that went with those questions. My office will be, I think, bringing down the statistics, but the questions from the opposition included questions from Mr Smyth, Mr Seselja, Mr Mulcahy, Mr Pratt, Mr Stefaniak and even Mrs Burke. Mrs Dunne, of course, was having her little holiday in Spain, which she was entitled to do. I do not deny that she was entitled to go on leave to Spain, but she cannot stand up in this place and say exactly what happened in the committee process last year when she was not here.
Mr Speaker, I have asked the opposition whip and I have asked the Leader of the Opposition on a couple of occasions previously and I asked earlier today who was going to be on the committee, because it is a matter of interest and a matter of concern for this government. The behaviour of the opposition's committee members last year was