Page 1329 - Week 04 - Thursday, 10 April 2008

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We are very disappointed with the outcome of this. Three members out of five from the government is not a good outcome. It is worth going back to what the Labor Party said prior to the 2001 election. In fact, Mr Smyth has touched on some of it:

Good government has the courage to allow itself to be closely scrutinised.

One of their specific commitments in government was to expand the estimates process.

Mr Smyth: It will do what?

MR SESELJA: It was to expand the estimates process. One of the key promises of this government in their open, transparent and accountable policy was to expand the estimates process. We see now, with the assistance of the crossbench, that they will make this budget the least accountable and the least scrutinised that there has been, certainly in the time I have been in the chamber. We will have three Labor members, doing as they are told by their ministers, allowing ministers the kind of disgraceful behaviour that we have seen from them—allowing them to filibuster in their answers to questions and to avoid scrutiny—and asking them dorothy dixer after dorothy dixer in the process. That is what we are going to be treated to. In fact, there will be no way of stopping that now because we will have Mr Gentleman, Ms Porter, and Ms MacDonald there, who will do as they are told by the government. The government do not even have the decency to have—they cannot even put themselves to the scrutiny of—three opposition members.

It must be said that the government were assisted very much in this by the crossbench. The government were prepared to countenance the idea of two opposition members and one crossbencher but, having had that opportunity taken away, they should have allowed us to move our amendment, and supported that amendment, to even the numbers up a little bit. As it is, this will be the worst estimates process, in terms of the ability of the committee and of the opposition to scrutinise the budget, ever seen.

This is a disappointing outcome but it is particularly noteworthy for the fact that the government do not want to be scrutinised and the crossbench have demonstrated that they want to assist the government and will not scrutinise the government. Mr Speaker, we will not be supporting the amended motion.

MR MULCAHY (Molonglo): I seek leave to move a further amendment.

Leave not granted.

Standing orders—suspension

Motion (by Mr Mulcahy) put:

That so much of the standing orders be suspended as would prevent Mr Mulcahy from moving an amendment.

The Assembly voted—

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