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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 11 Hansard (Tuesday, 9 November 2021) . . Page.. 3122 ..


That is where we could say that we will give the committees until the 19th, give them an extra week to do their job properly. The government then would have 11 days or longer to consider it in the lead-up to the second sitting week, the final sitting week. All it means is that we get the budget debate done in a week, which, as Mr Rattenbury will tell you, is how we used to do it all the time anyway.

I am not sure why we are rushing this through, demanding that committees get this job done in an inadequate way so that we can have two weeks to laboriously debate this budget as a matter of priority. Where do we see the priority? Scrutinising the government while the committees are doing their important work. Why have this estimates process if we are going to make a joke of it? That is what is happening here. We are making a joke of it.

To make a couple of further points, the origins of this stuff-up come from the fact that this government and this Assembly demanded that we go through the process of having standing committees looking into the budget. I moved a motion in this place saying, “Let’s have a single committee look at this, a select committee.” If we had done that, this would not be a problem. This would have been addressed far earlier in the process, I assure you, Mr Assistant Speaker.

Instead, we have a situation with such an important budget—such an important budget—where standing committees are looking at it, in some cases chaired by government members. Government members are assessing their own budget through a chair and a majority committee, with a bunch of Dorothy Dixers aimed at the government about how wonderful it is and then not being able to write a report, based on transcripts and questions on notice being received in a circumvented time frame. No-one is going to suggest that that is in any way a good process. We were willing to come back for another sitting week. This lot do not want to.

There is a workaround if you do not want to do another budget. I am sure you would be happy, Mr Assistant Speaker, to shorten some of your speeches about this budget. And I am sure other members would be prepared to do that to make sure that committees have the time to do their job properly.

I have circulated a simple amendment to give the committees the time to do that. I have not received an indication of whether that will be supported. I assume the government will not support it. I rang Mr Braddock and did not hear back from him for three weeks. He said, “I will speak to my members and I will get back to you”. I have not heard back from him. I went three weeks without hearing back from the Greens. When he did ring, he said, “Sorry I did not get back to you. I will speak to my team and get back to you.” He did not do that either. So I do not know where the Greens sit with this because, unfortunately, they have chosen not to engage in this process. That is looking a bit disappointing.

We find ourselves in a difficult position. We have a duty, a responsibility, to the people of the ACT to make sure that this government is properly scrutinised and this budget is properly scrutinised.


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