Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 5 Hansard (27 August) . . Page.. 1453 ..
MS CARNELL (continuing):
again in Mr Hird's comments. That leakage does not mean money going back to the central budget. Mr Speaker, this is the worst Estimates Committee report I have ever seen because it does not do what the Estimates Committee is supposed to do, and that is scrutinise the budget.
MR MOORE (Minister for Health and Community Care) (12.22): Mrs Carnell was right when she said that the best description of this process that we have heard so far came from a new observer, Mr Rugendyke, who used the word "farce". Mr Speaker, there has never been an estimates process like this one. There has never been a presiding member who has failed so dismally to deliver a reasonable estimates committee report than this presiding member. Standing order 247 states:
It shall be the duty of the Presiding Member of every committee to prepare a draft report.
That draft report is prepared by the presiding member and then dealt with by other members. Clearly what has happened is that this presiding member has been unable to deliver in the way that his leader, Jon Stanhope, said that he would deliver in terms of the new Labor Party and the way they were going to operate. Yesterday in this house I quoted what Mr Stanhope said about a new approach, a cooperative approach, and so on.
Mr Quinlan: Mr Moore, you are one of the most adversarial people in this chamber.
MR MOORE: Mr Quinlan interjects - - -
Mr Quinlan: It is not possible to work with people like you if you are going to keep doing this - taking this form of attack.
MR MOORE: Mr Quinlan interjects and sees me as one of the most adversarial people in this place but, Mr Speaker, as chair of the committee on one of the most controversial matters, of the 52 times that we reported to the Assembly there were only four occasions when we did not bring down unanimous reports. On two of those occasions the report was written up in these terms: "Two members say this" and "Two members give this opinion".
Mr Hargreaves: So what?
MR MOORE: The interjection is: "So what?". It is about the role of committees in trying to find consensus, in trying to get an Assembly that can work together. That is the so what. That is what is important. That is the most important thing - but only the first thing - that Mr Berry has failed on. That is where he has failed and that is why it is that somebody standing on the outside and looking in would say, "This is a farce". But there are other reasons why the process is a farce in this particular Estimates Committee.
The next issue is about evidence, Mr Speaker. I was flabbergasted when I read this committee report because I thought, "There are a whole string of things in here that affect the area that I have responsibility for in health that simply were not questioned. There is evidence in there and there are conclusions drawn that are simply based on factual errors".