Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 09 Hansard (Wednesday, 22 August 2018) . . Page.. 3488 ..
today. The findings of the review will better inform future discussions on this issue and on the question of whether ACTAS is adequately staffed and resourced.
Given that that review is underway—certainly, these are comments we made during the last debate about supporting that review process so that we can be well informed—we will await the outcomes of that work, and we will be supporting the amendment moved by Minister Stephen-Smith today, on behalf of Minister Gentleman.
MR COE (Yerrabi—Leader of the Opposition) (6.11): I am not at all surprised that Mr Rattenbury has once again gone in to bat for his Labor colleagues. The reality is that not only does Mr Rattenbury blindly support them in policy, but he blindly supports them in their conduct as well.
This would have been a very easy, very clear opportunity for Mr Rattenbury to say that this was substandard, and for him to actually draw a line in the sand and say, “Yes, we’re fellow travellers, but they can do better.” Instead the strength of that coalition between the Labor Party and the Greens is on full display. Even when the minister has received an answer to a question on notice after 25 days, and then takes a further 105 days to write five sentences, and perhaps misleads people along the way with his answers as to why it took so long, Mr Rattenbury still goes in to defend them. It is, of course, no surprise.
This actually puts a spring in the step of the ministers. It actually gives an endorsement to this kind of behaviour and this kind of politicisation of the public service. If they can do this, which is to blatantly politicise the public service, and they know they are going to get away with it, it is only going to get worse. It has to get worse. How could it not? If this is the standard, if this is now acceptable, if this Assembly now rules that you can get a question from your department in less than a month, and you can then sit on it for three months and doctor it, if that is the standard that we are going to adhere to here, it is a very slippery slope.
That is something that Mr Rattenbury is, of course, willing to sign up to. It certainly adds to my suspicion about how many other questions have been doctored in a similar way. How many other times have ministers responded with an answer where they have said, “We can’t get that data,” when in actual fact they did receive the data and they just did not want to release it?
I now expect that that has happened on many occasions. I now expect that there have been dozens of times when the minister’s office has received all the data, has received a complete answer to a question that we have lodged, and the minister has then told the Assembly, “Sorry, it’s too hard to compile; it would be too resource intensive.”
This is certainly something that I think the opposition should be investigating, because if the directorates have provided information that has not been passed on to the Assembly, I hope those opposite would vote differently if a similar motion were to be brought forward again. I certainly hope that Mr Rattenbury would vote differently.