Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 5 Hansard (27 August) . . Page.. 1454 ..
MR MOORE (continuing):
In addition, Mr Berry, in drafting this report - and other members in going along with him - has been prepared to slur the names of other people based on incorrect facts, based on things that are simply incorrect. What is worse, he has done this without asking questions. Mr Berry, had you asked about the particular situation, not of me but of the public servants who were with me, you would actually know the answer to the question concerning the person that you slurred and accused of cronyism. In fact, I had nothing whatsoever to do with the appointment, as the officers would tell you. You have also got the date of when that particular person ran with me wrong. The evidence is wrong.
That is not the only example. On many occasions in that report things are simply wrong. They would not be incorrect had you asked the questions and run with the issues. Mr Speaker, when we went in there my officers and I had a clear direction that we would be open and would answer whatever questions were asked by the committee. They simply were not asked. For the chair then to prepare a draft that sets up a situation where there are errors that slur people, that blacken somebody's name, is simply disgusting. Mr Speaker, I am very disappointed about that.
There was one financial issue that the committee dealt with and that was education. But they did get one small matter messed up, and that was the $1.9m that was taken out of education. The line that appears in the budget is the level of funding for education. There is no cut there. If you then took the $1.9m from that, you had an argument. But it was taken out first. Mr Berry feels he has got a handle on this so he is going to go at it tenaciously and, like everything else, he will not worry about the facts. He simply will not worry about the evidence because the evidence has never been an important part for Mr Berry. His political method is very simple. The method is: You just keep saying the same thing over and over and over and over again.
Mr Speaker, this is the single most appalling committee report that we have ever seen. Had I been associated with this Estimates Committee report, I would be embarrassed. I believe that the Assembly should look at the chair of the Select Committee on Estimates and recognise that he is not an appropriate person to chair a committee which is trying to get some consensus, to get evidence and to expose issues. It simply has not been done in a reasonable and rational way based on evidence, as we would expect in this Assembly.
Mr Speaker, I can give many examples of things that the Estimates Committee has told us to continue to do that are already happening - for example, reporting regularly on waiting lists. How much more regularly can you report than once a month? How much more reporting do you want? Of course, Mr Berry knows that; he knows that better than anybody. I simply cannot understand that, Mr Speaker.
In our formal response we will manage to respond specifically to a number of these details. I must say that I feel reluctant to do so. I will do it because it is appropriate for the Assembly, but it is such a poor report. It is such an appalling effort on the part of this Assembly that it takes us to a new low. Nowhere is that new low demonstrated more clearly, Mr Speaker, than by the diverse range of opinions that are in the report.