Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 01 Hansard (Tuesday, 9 December 2008) . . Page.. 139 ..
stands up and purports that this is delivering election commitments when we see that there are many things, $10 million worth of things, not mentioned by the Labor Party during the election means that they should be scrutinised.
The other defence—and it is a defence that governments often use—is that it is urgent. “We’re going to help people at risk.” Well, if that is the case, where have you been for the last 34 days? The government was sworn in 34 days ago—five weeks ago, Mr Speaker. If there are urgent things that the government wants to deliver before Christmas, why leave it for five weeks? They are asleep, they do not care, they wait.
Ms Gallagher: How?
MR SMYTH: You could have called the Assembly back earlier. We offered to call the Assembly back earlier for other matters, but that was rejected as well. It just goes to the point that this government is not effective in what they are doing. Thirty-four days after being put into government again, they suddenly decide that certain things are urgent.
I assume this bill will be passed on Thursday, so that will be on the 11th. They will then go away and ask the departments to work out how to implement this. I question whether they can genuinely look any of us in the eye and say they will deliver all of this money by Christmas, as they seem to say they have to do, and that they want to do. It is a noble ambition. I do not think any of us has any problem with the promises that you have made, but I want to see the detail and I want to know that you can do it. The problem is that you have sat there for 34 days, saying, “It’s urgent.” It is urgent. If we are going to have an appropriation bill, it is urgent, but 34 days later we get to hear about it, and 36 days after being put back into office the urgency will be met. I think you make a joke of yourselves.
There are many things in this bill. First and foremost, we see in the speeches the words used to obscure the real purpose of some of these payments. “Transitional arrangements for the Alexander Maconochie Centre”, “business re-engineering for education”: what does that mean? I think it is sad that the Greens will let it go through on the strength of that. Maybe they have got more detail than I have got. I would be interested to hear the Greens stand and say they are fully across every one of these initiatives, and that they now accept that only $6 million worth of them are election promises.
It is really interesting because some of the urgent election promises that the government made included $84,000 for flora regeneration, but I do not see that in this bill. There was a promise of $50,000 for mortgage relief. If you are suffering from mortgage difficulties and you need relief, I would have thought that was urgent, but that is not in this bill. So we have picked, we have chosen, and then we have filled it out so that we can cover our embarrassment at not delivering the Alexander Maconochie Centre on time, and so that we can re-engineer. “Business improvement in the department of education”: what does that mean? And we are not going to scrutinise this payment.
I think it is very important that we do this. I am somewhat disturbed and, I have to say, very disappointed in the new Treasurer, in that the arrogance that the Chief Minister