Page 2354 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 16 June 2009

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please, into how much was spent for signs, how much was spent in relation to newspaper ads, how much was spent on brochures, how much was spent on television advertising and how much was spent on radio. Oddly—and I guess we could actually remedy this particular omission—he did not ask how much was spent on skywriting or on viral advertising or perhaps on Twitter. Just imagine the depth of understanding one might gain of the workings of government from such minutiae as he did request. But then, of course, the revelation is that $2,000 was spent on banners for Bonner, but only $1,500 was spent on banners for Franklin. There is the significance.

Here is one from the Lite Greens:

What is the difference between urban renewal and infill land release?

Really, wouldn’t a dictionary have answered that as well? And this one:

Why is tree removal so often done on Sundays …

Some of the questions have a sinister edge to them. Witness this one from Mr Hanson:

How many ACT Health staff, are employed from overseas …

The answer is exactly the number required to staff our hospitals and health centres so that when Mr Hanson turns up at accident and emergency with a splinter in his finger, he can be treated by a qualified, competent, hardworking health professional appropriately trained and equipped. We all know what lies beneath such a question. We all know what lies beneath the supposedly innocent question: how many ACT Health staff are employed from overseas? We know what lies beneath that question. It is unanswerable really, isn’t it, and it is close to unspeakable.

The volume of work imposed on hardworking and apolitical public servants over recent days would be easier to stomach had the Liberals and the Lite Greens not so comprehensively squandered the opportunity to use the estimates hearings for their proper purpose—to inform themselves about the appropriation bill. Instead, those hearing were almost utterly consumed by politicking that could not, by the vastest stretch of the imagination, be linked in any fashion to the budget.

The second aspect of this debate that I will touch on today is the duty of members outside executive government to live by the same standards of openness and accountability that they demand of the government and government agencies.

Mr Hanson: Madam Assistant Speaker, I raise a point of order under standing order 55 in relation to imputation of improper motives.

MR STANHOPE: I ask that the clock be stopped, Madam Assistant Speaker.

MADAM ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Mrs Dunne): Stop the clock.

Mr Hanson: The concern I have is that during the estimates hearings I asked a question on notice which I considered quite appropriate about the number of staff employed from overseas—

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