Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 25 March 2010) . . Page.. 1575 ..
MR DOSZPOT (Brindabella) (4.43): I thank Mr Coe for giving us another opportunity to discuss in this place the issue of open, accountable and honest government. Indeed, I do not think a week goes by when the subject is not raised in one form or another. We have had many occasions to speak on this topic before and it is shame that we see a need to treat this is as a matter of public importance and raise it so often in this place, instead of being able to depend on this government to act honestly and in an open and accountable way as a matter of course.
The history of this Labor government is littered with examples of the betrayal of trust and the inability of this government to act honestly. One such example that transcends the years is that of the devastating school closures of 2006 and the failure of this government to release the functional review which was the catalyst for this mass cull of schools.
The failure to release the functional review, this hiding behind cabinet confidentiality, is a clear indication of how this government operated then and continues to operate now. Things have not changed. Even to this day, the Stanhope Labor government will choose to hide behind the excuse of cabinet in confidence. It would be valuable even now to examine what is in this functional review, in the review that led to such devastating changes, cuts to services and such devastation to our community.
It is only reasonable that we should see these documents even now and, if Mr Stanhope was here, I would be asking him why is he still hiding this document. Why are not the Greens interested in this document? Is it not worth the effort to get to the bottom of that traumatic part of Canberra’s history, that infamous era that was characterised by Ms Gallagher’s famous quote “no school closures”? That did not last too long and not only did we have school closures, we had bigger school closures than this city has ever seen.
To my mind, the school closures marked a watershed moment, a moment where the community said enough was enough and saw through the lies and rhetoric of the Stanhope-led Labor government. The 2008 election confirmed that and prompted the Labor Party to say all the right words. Never before were the words “open and accountable” used more.
The ACT Greens also promised to provide accountability and transparency to the community by acting as third-party insurance for the community. This is now being referred to sadly as third-party insurance fraud. We must not forget that we are elected to this place to make decisions on behalf of the citizens. We need to ensure that the decision making is open and accountable and not just for the short term. This accountability needs to carry through the whole term of government, well beyond any election.
This government came back into this place promising more open and more accountable government. We were told how they had learnt their lesson, how they will promise to take into account that the people have spoken and the fact that we have got three more Greens here. And the Greens promised to ensure this would happen.