Page 2053 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 21 June 2005

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unfair to the rest of the committee who persisted in good faith. It was not until the last minute that we learned that there would be a separate dissenting report. In fact, by its size, it is actually more of a manifesto than a report.

As you will see, I have provided a couple of pages of additional comments. I will talk about these and the estimates committee report in more depth next week when we discuss the appropriation bill.

I want to finish by making some final comments on the process. As I said before, there were times when Mr Mulcahy and Mr Seselja and I worked well together. These were the times when I saw how the estimates committee could work and why it is important that the government should not have a majority on the committee. I do believe that. However, the Liberal members mostly chose not to recognise me as someone in opposition. As you will have seen, they have chosen to see me and they have presented me in their dissenting report as someone who was coopted—I think they used the word “duchessed”, which would suit perhaps the royalist approach of the Liberal Party—because this suits their political purposes.

The experience of estimates, the influence of the Greens on the report and my contribution to the process indicate that the Greens are as much a part of the opposition as the Liberal Party. We work differently, however, and I see the committees as a place where we can put aside the posturing and the name-calling and the personal politics that I believe have come to play too much a part in this place. It is a time when we can put that aside and work together for the benefit of the Canberra community, as I believe they expect us to.

You need only to go to the transcripts to see what a nasty place this Assembly could be if the politics that were brought to the estimates committee by those members were allowed to dominate in this chamber. So I think that is the lesson we all learnt from the estimates committee. However, despite all those difficulties, we came out with a pretty good report and we actually felt quite warm towards each other at the end of that process.

I do not think we need to put ourselves in boxes and call each other names the whole time. We are all here because we care about Canberra. We might have different priorities but what we have here is a process that enables us in good faith to show the community that every one of us, every party in this Assembly, has a role to play. That is what the estimates committee does. I hope that we have seen the last of some of that behaviour and that we can now go forward.

MR SESELJA (Molonglo) (11.13): Mr Speaker, I would like to start by echoing what was said by the chair of the estimates committee and express my thanks to the secretariat, in particular Jane and Siobhan, for their very hard work during the estimates process. I think it has been a challenging experience for all of us for probably different reasons. As a new member it has given me an opportunity to scrutinise government to see what goes on in each of the portfolios and so it has been a valuable learning experience from that point of view. But I do acknowledge the secretariat’s very hard work in making things run smoothly and keeping us in line where necessary.

Before I respond to some of Ms MacDonald’s assertions and some of the things Dr Foskey said, I would like to give a summary of our dissenting report. In summary, our

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