Page 2098 - Week 06 - Thursday, 26 June 2008

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .

ask their questions over and above their own members on the committee. As I said, I think, on the whole, the question of standing orders in relation to select committees needs to be considered and I am sure that we will look at this in the future.

While I am on my feet, I place on record my thanks to Dr Sandra Lilburn, Robina Jaffray, Lydia Chung and all of the other people that work in the committee office for their assistance with these hearings. They were outstanding in their support and long suffering of our needs and I do thank them all. I thank all the ministers and all the officials for appearing before us. I thank the community groups, too, that came before us for the time that they spent on their submissions to the government and some additional submissions to us. I of course thank all my fellow committee members, notwithstanding Mrs Dunne’s and Mr Smyth’s dissenting report which reminds me of Alice in Wonderland.

MR MULCAHY (Molonglo) (4.38): I will say a few quick words because I cannot let Mrs Dunne’s dissertation go without some challenge. Mrs Dunne made a number of assertions that were simply inconsistent with the facts or with the truth. She obviously had her moment of attack on the crossbench members. I made no secret of the fact that I did not want to be on the estimates this year, and I made those reasons known here to members and publicly. But I did avail myself of the opportunity to attend estimates on many occasions.

There are two amazing ironies here. First of all, there is the attack that was launched by the opposition leader on the crossbenchers for not being on the estimates committee. Surprise, surprise, who did not put himself on? The opposition leader, because it involved something after 5.30 pm, and we know his track record from Mr Gentleman’s committee for the last couple of years. You do not get yourself involved with things that cut into your social time, but he was happy to put out a release attacking us. I said to my staff, I said, “I’ll bet you money that he will not put himself forward, because he doesn’t want the job; it’s too much like hard work.” The people who drew the short straw were, of course, Mr Smyth, who would have wanted to be on there, and Mrs Dunne, who would have thought it was akin to a nightmare being stuck on that committee because I know her views about those sorts of things as well.

The second thing that was quite untrue was Mrs Dunne went on the record saying, “Mr Mulcahy came in, asked a question, and he’d just leave.” I spent numerous hours in those hearings. I did not go to all of them; I saw most of it on the closed-circuit facilities in my office. I spent many, many, many hours at those hearings. It was interesting that, on the first day of estimates, I did not see Mrs Dunne all day. There is the deputy chair of the committee, missing in action. So if we are going to talk about people’s commitment to these things, let us have a little look closer to the author of this work of fiction.

Dr Foskey can speak for herself about her role, but let me tell you about one other issue: Mrs Dunne talked about the chair and government members running interference for ministers. The most evident form of interference was the conduct of the deputy chair, particularly towards the latter part of proceedings, desperately trying to stop every person in that room, other than her own parliamentary colleagues, asking questions.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .