Page 4820 - Week 15 - Wednesday, 14 December 2005

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My question is to the minister for emergency services. The Auditor-General’s report No 7 of 2005, tabled yesterday, shows that the ESA’s employee expenses were $45.099 million, $3.242 million under the reported budget of $48.413 million. Minister, why did your department desperately require Treasurer’s advances for 2004-05 totalling $5.499 million, apparently to pay for overtime and other related administrative expenses, when the ESA has clearly come in under budget for employee expenditure?

MR HARGREAVES: Mr Pratt, essentially, is saying to me, “Master, how is it so?” I say, Mr Speaker, “Grasshopper, it is like this.” The Chief Minister or the Treasurer, I forget which, has come into this chamber—

Mrs Dunne: I take a point of order, Mr Speaker. You have ruled regularly and consistently that members should address other members by their names.

MR SPEAKER: I think that there was some theatre in that. I do not think that he was referring to the individual in any sense. I think that it was an attempt at theatrics. This is not a place of amusement, members, so let’s get on with the response to the question.

MR HARGREAVES: It is indeed not a place of amusement, Mr Speaker, and I apologise to the house for not bringing my Baygon with me.


MR HARGREAVES: All right, I withdraw that, Mr Speaker. Given the shake of your head, I unreservedly withdraw that. In this place those opposite—one at a time, like ducks in a shooting gallery—have asked this government for the details of the Treasurer’s advance. They have asked that question interminably—

Mr Pratt: And you have never answered it.

MR HARGREAVES: Mr Pratt continues to attempt to mislead the community. He ought to be quiet for a second. He might learn something, possibly for the first time in his life.

What has happened with regard to that Treasurer’s advance is that the Chief Minister or the Treasurer—possibly both; I am not sure—has given that chapter and verse. It is something that has to be tabled in this place and that was duly done. It has been raised in estimates committee hearings and it has been raised at annual report hearings. The only thing I can think of that prevents Mr Pratt and his colleagues from understanding or interpreting what was said is that they are deficient in their reading skills. I do not know how many times people have stood up in this chamber and put it down. I am sure, absolutely certain, that the details of that Treasurer’s advance have been put to this chamber again and again.

Mr Speaker, through you, I invite the so-called shadow minister to go back and look at a number of documents: the TA details tabled in the Assembly, the numerous reports in Hansard of this Assembly and the transcripts of every committee meeting at which members opposite have raised the subject.

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