Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 07 Hansard (Tuesday, 16 June 2009) . . Page.. 2348 ..
Ms Le Couteur, Ms Porter, Mr Seselja and Mr Smyth proposing that matters of public importance be submitted to the Assembly. In accordance with standing order 79, Mr Speaker has determined that the matter of public importance proposed by Mr Seselja be submitted to the Assembly, namely:
The importance of open and accountable government.
MR SESELJA (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (3.53): It is with great pleasure that I rise to speak on this very important issue today. I think it is most timely, given the estimates report which has just been handed down and will be debated in coming days and some of the matters that arose from there.
The issue of open and accountable government is of critical importance because it goes to the ability of governments to be scrutinised—to allow themselves to be scrutinised—and the ability of the community to know how their money is being spent and what decisions are being made on their behalf. This is critical to that contract that there is between government and the governed.
People elect political representatives to make a lot of decisions on their behalf. What is critical in that decision making is that that is open and accountable so that—not just at elections, but most importantly at elections—the electorate can judge the performance of their government and the performance of their elected representatives. Ongoing and accountable government transparency allows that to be an ongoing process, a process which continues right throughout the electoral term. The media has a role to play in this; the Assembly has a critical role to play in this; Assembly committees have an important role. Shadow ministers and a number of other independent agencies also have a role to play.
This government came to office on the promise of more open and more accountable government. Their record, unfortunately, has in no way lived up to this. In the Greens-Labor agreement we have seen a lot of words that are meant to be a reform agenda for this government. It says:
The Parties commit to:
1. Accountability and Collaboration
The purpose being to improve accountability and practice in the relationship between the Executive, Parliament and the Judiciary in the ACT, and improve the involvement of non-executive Assembly Members in the development of legislation, policy and service delivery …
The Greens-Labor agreement also states:
Pursue measures which will ensure:
(a) Parliamentary procedures which enforce the accountability of the Executive to Parliament …
(b) Greater collaboration between the Executive and parliament in the development of legislation …