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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 6 Hansard (17 June) . . Page.. 1892 ..



would propose to put in its budget as an initiative something that it must spend money on. The government says that it is going to put away hundreds of thousands of dollars-I cannot remember the figure-for the coroners inquiry into the bushfires. Blind Freddy knows that that is not an initiative.

That is money that this government has to spend come what may. That is not an initiative and it is not a policy idea. This government is a policy black hole; it does not have any policies. The initiatives are entirely unfunded, not thought out. One official was asked, "How did you come to that figure?"He said, "Well, we took a punt."This process was not an inquiry into estimates; it was an inquiry into guesstimates. This government and this budget have reached a new low in public policy and public accountability.


(12.10): First of all, I would like to put on record that this process was a learning experience for me. It was my first estimates committee. Unlike Mrs Dunne, I have not been involved with estimates beforehand. Whilst most of it was not surprising, there were a certain number of moments that I might look back on in years and cherish.

Mr Smyth

: You've got to get out more, Karin.


: Yes, I know. I admit that I have got to get out more.

Mr Hargreaves

: You kept her there for 90 hours.


: Order, members! If you want to go outside and have a little conflab, please do so, but in this place leave the floor to Ms MacDonald.


: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mine was actually a little bit less than 90 hours. I must apologise to the committee, firstly, for bringing my germs into the place in the first instance and, secondly, for having to be absent as a result of a really bad version of the flu which knocked me out for two days. I would like to place on record for Minister Wood, as both of those days were the days that he appeared before the Estimates Committee, that it was not a personal thing against him. It just happened to get me at the worst time on the Wednesday.

The second thing I would like to do before I forget is to put on record my thanks and the thanks of my colleague Mr Hargreaves to both Derek Abbott and Judy Moutia for their superb and sterling work in the preparation of this committee report. Without Derek there to guide us through the ways, I do not know that the report would have got done. Mr Smyth may disagree with me on that. I think that Mr Abbott did a fantastic job. He managed to put up with all of the silly jokes that we came up with on each of the days that estimates took place.

With that, I would like to go on to the report itself. I have to say, Mr Speaker, that I am disappointed with it, although not surprised by that. I believe that the report is overly political. I think that the estimates process has been a political exercise by the members of the opposition on the committee. I have to thank Mrs Cross for supporting the government members of the committee sometimes by seeing reason when we put it to her and not allowing the report to be as political as it could have been. But I would like to place on the record that I believe that the report is still an overtly political document.

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