Page 2056 - Week 06 - Thursday, 26 June 2008
MR SPEAKER: Mr Smyth, can you remind me why we are on the subject of ministers? There were none before the estimates committee on this particular line?
MR SMYTH: Well, it is a cognate debate, and I am addressing the committee report, the dissenting report and the budget.
Mr Seselja: When is he meant to deal with the report?
MR SPEAKER: This is in relation to the Legislative Assembly Secretariat. I am just trying to encourage an economical approach.
MR SMYTH: This is perhaps part of the failure of the approach. I take your point, Mr Speaker, and I will come back to the subject of the Assembly. But I do make the point that we sought to speak to these reports earlier, and a tactic of the government has been to break down our ability to respond effectively by having our responses piecemeal throughout the budget lines. We saw the Chief Minister talk to his report, but we were denied that courtesy. This is part of the problem of the approach—
MR SPEAKER: Come back to the Secretariat. I think there is going to be plenty of time to talk about the other matters.
MR SMYTH: I will come back to the Secretariat, Mr Speaker. It is a shame the minister responsible for the report on the Assembly library is not here. It is one of the real gems of this place that we—
MR SPEAKER: There is a line in the budget for him.
MR SMYTH: Yes, I will get to him in that line of the budget as well, Mr Speaker. In regard to the library, I know that many people are interested. You appeared before the committee, Mr Speaker, and you might like to speak for yourself after the luncheon break as to whether or not you have received the report and whether or not you have had the discussion with the minister about the future of the library.
This is symptomatic of what we are going to hear for the rest of this day and potentially tomorrow as the debate on the budget continues—that is, ministers unable to answer reasonable questions or choosing not to answer reasonable questions, ministers obfuscating and ministers not delivering reports on time. We see it time and time again with this Assembly. We see it particularly in regard to the report on the future of the library, which is of interest to us all.
Other areas of interest that came up in the hearings which are mentioned in the final couple of pages of the report include the impending election and its consequences for the Secretariat and the reason for some extra payments there for the Assembly. We talked about the impact of the shared services and some financial functions. It would be good to see you, Mr Speaker, in time come back to the Assembly and actually tell us what the final impact of the shared services will be on the Assembly Secretariat.
We also talked about the accommodation arrangements for attendants at the public entrance. It is important that we have a friendly and engaging Assembly so people do