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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 06 Hansard (Tuesday, 22 June 2010) . . Page.. 2109 ..

What is more important than continuing education and kids dropping out of school? What is more important than that? We had a chair who did not want the minister to answer. And there are numerous examples of this; just as things got interesting or started to warm up, the chair would move it on.

There is only one conclusion that one can draw from the report of the committee—that the Greens-Labor alliance is alive and well in this place and we still have a majority government. What they have perpetrated on the people of the ACT is third-party insurance fraud, because there is no example of them standing up to the government and making recommendations that bring the government to task—asking the hard questions, doing the hard work.

We are criticised for asking too many questions. Perhaps you should look at yourselves and ask why you did not ask the same questions. Where was your work ethic? What were you doing? What you did not do is show leadership. And ultimately, in your report, what you did not do—and the reason we dissent—is stand up for the ordinary person in the street: the taxpayer, the recipient of the services that are covered in this budget of almost $4 billion. You dismissed the concerns of the kinship carers without discussing them. You do not speak up for Indigenous people; you do not speak up for the disability sector. We did.

The problem here is this. Ms Bresnan says: “You talk about headlines. All the Liberal Party was interested in was getting a headline.” Isn’t that interesting? When you ask questions in the chamber, and even when you ask questions in estimates, nothing happens if it does not get reported. In the last week we have seen instances of two gentlemen who got the headline and got the surgery. That is the new admissions process from the Minister for Health. Welcome back, minister; it is good to have you back to look after the Treasury. I think you will notice that the word “deficit” is not actually mentioned in the committee report.

Ms Bresnan needs to reassess what she is saying. The issue is this: is it wrong to highlight the failure of the government and let it appear in the daily paper or on the radio or TV when it comes to a better outcome for that individual? Two gentlemen who were apparently bumped off the health list—ignored—had their category changed. We asked questions about this, but when it is reported and when people come forward—(Time expired.)

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (11.09): It is instructive to listen to the Greens and to Mr Hargreaves in their futile and feeble attempt at defending a fairly indefensible report. I will start where the estimates committee began, by going to the kinship carers.

The kinship carers were the first group to appear before the estimates committee and what they had to say was a searing indictment of the administration of care and protection services in the ACT. When we are talking about what governments are supposed to be doing, first and foremost they are supposed to be protecting the vulnerable. Who are more vulnerable in this community than children who cannot be raised by their own parents for whatever reason?

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