Page 392 - Week 01 - Thursday, 11 December 2008

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and we expect, with the assistance of the Greens, that this bill will be passed without necessary scrutiny. I think that is a very scary abuse of the process in this place. I think it is a scary abuse of process in that both the Stanhope-Gallagher government and the Greens claim to be seeking increased accountability and transparency yet at the first hurdle they fail. The reality is quite simple: you cannot have it both ways. Either this bill is subject to scrutiny before it is passed or the Assembly is open to criticism for not properly scrutinising the spending of public funds. Why is the need for scrutiny so important? Fundamentally, it is to ensure that public funds are spent properly. We have to ask the question: are there any issues with this bill? The answer is yes; there are many.

I received a briefing on Tuesday and I thank the minister and her staff for the briefing soon after the bill was introduced. I thank the Treasurer. While I received much useful information, I also asked a number of questions. I understand there was another briefing yesterday for other members and they also asked many questions. We have since received some answers to these questions, but there are many answers outstanding. My office has spoken, both by email and by phone, to the Treasurer’s office to seek answers to these and, again, this afternoon I got another answer, but there are still many fundamental questions that have not been answered and I would like those answers before I have to vote on something. I like to be informed and I will not be uninformed.

It is interesting because the Treasurer said that she would go to any extent that people want, within reason—within the test of reasonableness—so that, when the debate happens on Thursday, people will feel able to participate fully in that discussion. I do not believe I can participate fully in this discussion simply because I have not had my questions answered. It is as simple as that.

There is no analysis in this bill on the impact of the budget outcomes. Why not? Perhaps the government is too scared to tell the community how thin the surpluses will become. The Treasurer claims the bill delivers on election commitments. Let us look at that and work out if this is true. According to the analysis by Treasury before the election, there was $6.4 million worth of commitments for the 2008-09 budget coming out of the Labor Party’s promises. Yet this bill proposes an additional $16.2 million of spending in 2008-09 and around $4 million each year in the outyears. That additional $16 million is $10 million more than the Labor Party promised during the election campaign. So what has happened? The ALP promised additional spending of $6.4 million in 2008-09, but indeed not all of the ALP’s promises are included. Where is the $84,000 for flora regeneration? Where is the $10,000 for the youth achievers of Australia?

We have been told that this bill is urgent—these promises need to be delivered. The government promised $50,000 for mortgage relief. I would have thought mortgage relief was fairly urgent. If you go to the social determinants, health, a job and a roof over your head are in that list of social determinants. I would have thought, based on that, $50,000 for mortgage relief would have been considered urgent. If you are in mortgage stress, it is, but according to the government, it is not. So where are these commitments funded? When will these commitments be funded? Where will these commitments be funded?

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