Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 07 Hansard (Tuesday, 16 June 2009) . . Page.. 2381 ..
MR SESELJA: Indeed, Mr Speaker, if I could continue. We have not seen a credible plan, but what we have seen is a politicisation of the public service, a politicisation that really does call into question people’s confidence in their government. It does call it into question when we see the constant politicisation.
The Chief Minister gets out of bed on the wrong side and we see before lunchtime an ad placed in the paper because he is angry—from the Land Development Agency, it must be said, not even a government department. It was not a government department; this is an agency which is meant to have some degree of separation from government. It has a board; it is not the same as a government department. Yet it would seem that if the Chief Minister gets out of bed on the wrong side we get public money spent to fix the problem, to fight the political battle. And we get public resources devoted to attacking the Liberal Party and attacking the newspaper.
This is what we saw. We saw Katy Gallagher decide that it is okay—and to defend this—for her simply to get on the phone to the chief executive of her department and say, “Can the ALP shoot an ad in the hospital?” She believes that is okay. Clearly the education minister has a very different view on this. Indeed, so do some senior departmental officials, it would seem, because they expressed concerns about such an arrangement if it were to happen in the department of education or in relation to schools. Yet Ms Gallagher, when confronted with this, says, “No, it is fine. I just called Mr Cormack, I asked him and that was it.” There was no documentation, nothing to back it up—not even a skerrick of documentation to back up this approach as being reasonable. This is what we get from the minister.
So we did see a lot of concerning parts. We saw the misrepresentations. We see some pretty damning conclusions from this committee. The question now is this, and there is the one that I referred to earlier as well, Mr Barr’s treating of the Assembly and the committee with contempt. Those are the words used by the committee—that he treated the estimates process with contempt. That is what he did. It recommends further action, and it is important that we consider what further action there is.
Mr Speaker, this is a report that is comprehensive. It would be more comprehensive if they had bothered to answer questions on notice. But, of course, what they did was instead to cost them. They spent their time costing what it would take—
Mr Smyth: Take to do it.
MR SESELJA: Instead of doing it, they said, “No, no: don’t answer the questions on notice; just tell us how much it might cost.” “Go and do a Treasury analysis of how much it might cost and give us a reason not to answer questions on notice.”
Ms Gallagher: Are you going to pass the budget, Zed? Pass the budget? Yes or no?
MR SESELJA: We have not even finished the debate. We look forward to your response. That is important. We look forward to your response.
Ms Gallagher: Oh, that is going to determine whether or not you support the budget? So you are going to—