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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 20 October 2010) . . Page.. 4754 ..


There also appears to have been very limited communication between various Government agencies about the planning and management of events and festivals. While there is a good deal of experience and capability in different agencies, there seems to have been very little sharing of knowledge and expertise.

This portion of the report also needs a little closer scrutiny:

There also appears to have been very limited communication between various government agencies … there seems to have been very little sharing of knowledge and expertise.

Under normal circumstances, when ministers with different but related portfolios are required to communicate about their portfolios with fellow ministers, there would be no excuse for not sharing the knowledge and the expertise. But in the case of Mr Barr, the mind boggles. Mr Barr is the minister for tourism, sport, education, racing, planning and there is no possible excuse for him not consulting himself, except perhaps that he has lost interest—a suggestion that seems to be getting a lot of currency these days.

Interestingly, Mr Barr pulled me up when I spoke in another debate this morning about his closeness, his proximity, to Joy Burch, sitting next to each other in the Assembly. Apparently I made a mistake and said that they sit next door to each other in adjoining offices. “That is not right,” Mr Barr said. “We’re not next door. We’re a couple of doors apart.” The lack of communication between these government ministers is absolutely incredible. We have seen that this morning between disability and education—no communication whatsoever. Of course, Mr Barr’s very interesting note that he does not sit close to Ms Burch or his office is two doors down goes to the heart of this whole matter. It does not matter if they sat on each other’s lap. They would not be able to communicate, as we can see.

We have a tired Chief Minister who needs to take holidays during the major sitting days of the Assembly. We have a seemingly uninterested minister for tourism, an education minister who is so disconnected from his department that he will not even front the media to face serious questions on a consultation that he, himself, proudly announced a few weeks ago. Where is the ministerial responsibility or where is the courage? Or is this just pure cowardice when this minister leaves the public servants to try to clear up the mess that he has created? And where is the leadership of the government? Where is the leadership of the government in pulling this minister into line, reminding him of his ministerial responsibilities?

There is a sense of deja vu here. I seem to recall asking a similar question of the Chief Minister and now I am asking the same question of the Acting Chief Minister. Back then I was asking the Chief Minister when Minister Barr came close to being censured for misrepresentation about 12 months ago. The story has not changed. We have got an Acting Chief Minister who obviously is quite happy to allow Mr Barr’s happy meanderings to continue. The Chief Minister is tired and is overseas, and the Acting Chief Minister, Ms Gallagher, is apparently uninterested in or tired of asking some more hard questions of an uninterested Andrew Barr.


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