Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 06 Hansard (Thursday, 26 June 2008) . . Page.. 2090 ..
I am pleased to support this appropriation but I hope that in future years the Chief Minister might be persuaded to inject some more into this. Self-government is a matter of fact here. Even though there might be a lot of people in the ACT who would be happy for it to disappear, I do not think the commonwealth is about to take us back; we need to operate on the same basis as the other parliaments in Australia.
MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (4.08): Mr Speaker, speaking cognately, I would like to take the opportunity to reflect on some of the matters in the estimates report. As the deputy chair of the estimates committee, I think it is appropriate that we reflect upon what was and what might have been in the estimates process.
First, it must be stated again that this is the first time in the 19-year history of the Legislative Assembly that the government has hijacked the estimates process and used its numbers not only to ensure that they had the chairmanship of the estimates committee but also that they had an absolute majority on the estimates committee. Because of that there was a bit of an interesting vibe. Part of the responsibility for that does lie with the crossbench, who basically threw up their hands and said, “It is not worth my effort—it is not worth my while to belong to the estimates process.” I think that that does not reflect too well on members of the crossbench, and it did create an interesting dynamic.
Dr Foskey interjecting—
MRS DUNNE: In Dr Foskey’s defence, she did attend a lot of the estimates hearings and she waited patiently to ask questions because, as things go, non-members have to wait considerably longer to ask questions than members of the committee. I think that she probably did herself a disservice because she did put in the hours but did not have the opportunity to ask the questions that she might have done had she been a member of the committee.
Mr Mulcahy came and went. He tended to speak over people to get his questions in and then leave, which I thought did not reflect well on the estimates process. The fact that the chair persistently allowed this to happen did not reflect particularly well on the process as well. But there was a considerable problem.
It is not my desire, and it never was my desire as a member of the estimates committee, to have to put my signature to 48 pages of dissenting comments. There is not a comment in this dissenting comment that was not brought to deliberation in the main committee where a form of words was not presented to the main committee and where Mr Smyth or I would say, “We would like this included.” We will start with the big issue.
I cannot think of an occasion—and let me just go through the list of occasions: the Chief Minister; the LDA; ACTPLA; environment protection; the Minister for Health; TAMS, for the management of horse paddocks; and disability services. They were all areas that were touched on by discussion of the data centre and power station project. Because of the overarching element—this was a constant theme throughout—one of the simple measures that Mr Smyth and I proposed was that there should be a separate chapter devoted to that in the estimates process. It was a matter that was highly