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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 23 March 2010) . . Page.. 1252 ..

This is not an agreement about ministerial appointments. This is an agreement that goes to the heart of the way the ACT is governed and goes to the heart of the ACT budget. The Treasurer tells us that our budget is in trouble—but we cannot ask questions, according to your ruling, Mr Speaker. We cannot ask questions, according to your ruling, on something that will have substantial implications for the budget—

Ms Gallagher: Just get a little bit cleverer with your questions.

MRS DUNNE: It is not a matter of being clever in how we ask the questions. It is about the context of the decisions that are made by this government. This government will make decisions because they signed up to the Labor-Greens agreement. They do it all the time. They say, “We are doing this because it’s in the Labor-Greens agreement.” This government will make spending commitments because of the Labor-Greens agreement; they have done it already and they will continue to do so. The people of the ACT are paying for the Labor-Greens agreement and they are entitled to have questions asked about it.

The fact that you have changed your mind about this is a matter of considerable concern for the Canberra Liberals and it should be a matter of considerable concern for the people of the ACT—because it shows that you have gone from being an impartial Speaker to being a Greens Speaker. You were more concerned about protecting the Greens and the agreement that keeps you in your job than you were about scrutiny. And that is why we should be dissenting from your ruling today, and that is why I support Mr Smyth’s motion.

MR HANSON (Molonglo) (2.36): Once again we rise in this place because what we are seeing is Labor and Greens working together to prevent the Liberal Party from holding ministers to account. Last week we saw it in the issue of Mr Corbell’s censure motion, where there was a clear case of him misleading the Assembly. We saw you get down from your chair as Speaker and defend him. Today what we see is in a clear case where you have decided that you are going to rule against scrutiny of the government. We see Mr Corbell stand up and defend you. What we see is a pattern where you are quite happy to defend that government, to hide them from scrutiny, and what we see is the government protecting you when you are trying to hide the Greens and the government from scrutiny. It is absolutely disgraceful.

There is only one party that remains in this town that is determined to hold the government to account and to maintain scrutiny of the parliament. Once, I think, you did have those ideals. No longer. It is quite clear to be seen. The independence of the Speaker is—

Ms Gallagher: Oh, God. It is like a movie, a bad movie.

MR HANSON: Clearly you won’t stop them heckling, Mr Speaker. There is a dual way of doing things in this house from this day on, quite clearly.

Mr Speaker, what you are doing is covering up scrutiny of the executive by your ruling. What we do in this place as the opposition, and what you should be doing as a crossbench, is inquiring of the government, in every aspect within the standing orders,

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