Page 2353 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 16 June 2009

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The second aspect of the debate that I will touch on is the responsibility that rests on others in this place to use information that they have obtained through the open and accountable processes of government honestly and fairly. Might we even say openly and accountably?

I would like to share with you some of the questions on notice received by ACT government agencies or ministers in relation to the recent estimates hearings. Observe that these samples are drawn only from my portfolios. I imagine that there are others, equally enlightening, drawn from the areas of responsibility held by my ministerial colleagues.

Judge, if you will, what these questions and their answers could possibly add to the sum of openness and accountability practised by this government or any government. Decide for yourself how answers to these questions could possibly illuminate the debate on the budget for this coming 12 months and then bear in mind that a hardworking public service was given five days to answer 2,550 questions at an estimated cost of $1.5 million, consuming 12,500 public service hours across 20 areas of government. In my portfolio areas alone, there were 911 questions on notice. Here is one:

What is the rationale for the view that motor traffic is necessary in Bunda Street and other city areas?

What is the rationale for the view that motor traffic is necessary in the city of Canberra? The department had five days to scope the history and usage of the motor car in human history, five days in which to struggle to identify a single line in any budget paper to which such a philosophical question could possibly relate. It was a vain and futile search.

Here is another: what is the total cost of green paint purchased by the Department of Territory and Municipal Services? A fine question from Mr Coe, who seems not to have caught up with the fact that his party, the Liberals, now support on-road cycle paths—a stance dating, we understand, from one week before the last election. The Liberal Party has opposed on-road cycle paths for the entirety of its time or my time in this Assembly, but suddenly, in the week before the last election, it discovered a support for on-road cycle paths. Perhaps Mr Coe was proposing to lament that we do not spend enough on green paint. We, of course, hope to be able to oblige him, in time.

Here is another one from the steel-trap mind of Mr Coe: what is the total revenue received by the ACT government from registrations of goods-carrying trailers, caravans and fixed-load trailers not exceeding 4.5 tonnes? A good question, Madam Assistant Speaker, and a question that has been bothering me ever since I became Minister for Territory and Municipal Services! Another question is: what is the average number of kilometres driven by each make and model of bus? I am sure that Mr Coe is lying awake at night in eager anticipation of receiving the answer to that question.

There is one from Mr Seselja, asking how much the LDA spent on advertising this year to promote various estates, including Bonner and Franklin, broken down, if you

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