Page 2604 - Week 07 - Thursday, 18 June 2009

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the past seven or eight years. Mr Gentleman had brought estimates performances by government backbenchers to a pretty low ebb, but I think they were exceeded this year. There were times when Ms Burch was actively seeking advice from government advisers in the gallery about which questions to ask. The highlight was always for me: “Minister, there’s an initiative here. Would you like to tell me about it?” That was not questioning; it was the basis of an opportunity for a dorothy dixer.

I shall comment on some of the recommendations that Ms Burch made that probably will not be commented on during the appropriation debate next week. Recommendation 5 of her dissenting report is a recommendation that the Canberra Liberals be asked to explain the rationale behind their questions and explain how the answers will improve key outcomes for the ACT. I would say in response that through scrutiny we find out how the government will be spending taxpayers’ money, and that includes questions on newspaper ads when the Chief Minister gets cranky.

Paragraph 8.4 of her report states:

In contrast, in the face of these unprecedented economic times, the Government has been busy making tough decisions about the economy.

Well, Ms Burch, the only decision that this government made in this budget was not to make a decision about how to fix up the economy.

In relation to students with special needs, a very important issue, Ms Burch says:

There was robust debate about the Opposition’s desire to have the current Shaddock review extend to non-government schools.

She goes on three paragraphs later to say:

This line of questioning by the Opposition was out of order and should not have been facilitated by the Chair.

Well, I am sorry, but since Ms Burch wrote this her factional colleague has done a spectacular backflip on this.

Neighbourhood Watch

MR DOSZPOT (Brindabella) (4.12): I was pleased to offer my support last week to a group of residents of Theodore who met to discuss the formation of a Neighbourhood Watch group in their suburb. The objective of Neighbourhood Watch is to prevent harm to person and property and assist the community to be aware of safety issues, working in partnership with police as they do the job of implementing law and order.

There was an extraordinary turnout at the Theodore meeting; close to 75 people came along to the Calwell Club last Sunday afternoon. The group included a mix of business owners, residents of the area and community groups. There was a guest panel at the meeting to answer myriad questions, including ACT Policing, safety house representatives, the President of Neighbourhood Watch ACT, Ursula Macdermott, and her colleague Margaret Pearson, the secretary, as well as the Tuggeranong Neighbourhood Watch convener, Nick Tsoulias. Theodore primary was represented

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