Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 11 Hansard (8 December) . . Page.. 3225 ..
MR BERRY (continuing):
a continuing rate an enormous amount of legal aid funding. The end result is that, on average, hundreds of people will miss out on legal aid funding as a result of that extraordinary case. It strikes me that there ought to be an attempt by a fair-minded government to address itself to those extraordinary costs, to ensure that they do not impact on other people who are using legal aid, which is supplied by the Government.
Ms Carnell: You know, if you put something extraordinary into a budget, it's not extraordinary. It is ordinary.
MR BERRY: You have had your go, Chief Minister.
Mr Speaker, overall I was quite pleased with the Estimates Committee involvement. I notice that the Government was squealing in relation to it. I am happy that they are, because you can usually tell when you are getting pretty close to the mark by the volume of the squeals from the Government when you are involved in scrutiny. This Government has from the outset tried to avoid scrutiny in the development of the committee processes here in the ACT Legislative Assembly. I recall that, when this Chief Minister was sitting on the Estimates Committee, you could not stay there long enough to please her. I tried to total up the number of hours I sat in as Health Minister before this member, and it went on for hours and hours and hours. It was, as I recall, a strident scrutiny, which she now seeks to deny others. None of us would try on that sort of a stunt, I would not think, because it was not that productive; but at the end of the day it strikes me as quite odd and ironic that she would criticise others for being careful about their examination of government. Governments squeal when they are scrutinised. As I said earlier, you know that you are getting close to the mark when the volume goes up.
Mr Speaker, I have not had time, at this point, to look at all of the details of the Government's response but it is clear that this was a report endorsed by the overwhelming majority of members on an overwhelming majority of issues. I look forward to participating in the estimates process in the future to ensure that this Government and in particular this Chief Minister and her array of additional Ministers are held accountable. I know that they do not like being accountable, but they will get used to it in time.
MR MOORE (Minister for Health and Community Care) (3.43): Actually, Mr Speaker, some of us enjoy being accountable, and it is a pity that Mr Berry misunderstood the strident criticism that was levelled at the Estimates Committee. The strident criticism was not about the 13 of the 19 recommendations that were agreed to by the Government; the strident criticism was about all the things that the Estimates Committee did not do that Estimates Committees normally do. For example, the Chief Minister mentioned the thousands of performance indicators upon which agencies and the Government could be judged; but where did they appear in the Assembly committee's report? I think it is close enough to say that they did not appear. They were occasionally, but barely, mentioned.
On the specific issue of my role as a private member, Mr Berry gave two examples to illustrate his point that Mr Moore should be concentrating just on his ministerial duties. The two examples were the methadone program and leaflets on windscreens. As to the windscreen leaflets, Mr Berry, everywhere I go people say to me, "Thank goodness you did that. That was a great idea. We really appreciate it". Just rarely, just on