Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 08 Hansard (Tuesday, 23 June 2009) . . Page.. 2636 ..
but it is worth looking at how some of those resources in the ACT executive are being used and what came from the estimates committee on that matter. In fact, we saw throughout the estimates committee process examples of political interference by the ACT executive in departments and agencies. We saw this pattern of political interference and politicisation from ministers’ offices. This is how they used the resources of the ACT executive.
We see it time and again. We see the health minister walking away. She gave us probably the clearest example of interference, where she called up the CEO, the head of ACT Health, who obviously does not have better things to do with his time, according to Ms Gallagher, than to take her phone calls organising political advertising for her party. We saw not a scrap of documentary evidence to back up the use of Canberra Hospital for ALP advertising, yet this minister, the Minister for Health, had no qualms in politicising the head of her department. In fact, she put him in a very difficult position, in that the minister essentially asked him to arrange ALP advertising on her behalf and on behalf of the ALP.
That was a disgraceful politicisation of an agency, of a department, and of a departmental head. We saw the bar set extraordinarily low by this government. Remember when they used to actually comply with their ministerial code of conduct? That is in fact what the ACT executive is meant to be bound by—the ministerial code of conduct—yet we see this constant disregard for what is set out in that ministerial code of conduct.
We saw it also in education, although in a slightly different way. We asked whether it was appropriate for ministers to request the use of facilities for ALP ads and the minister for education stated:
It would have been improper for me as minister to have sought advantage for my political party in relation to such a request.
That is what Andrew Barr thinks of this.
Mr Hanson: Quite right.
MR SESELJA: Well, he did not actually follow through on that, but it was a good statement of principle, wasn’t it? It was a great statement of principle from Minister Barr—that it would have been improper for him to have sought it. Of course, he was having a go at his factional opponent there in Katy Gallagher, who did not think it was improper for her to call the head of her department and arrange for Canberra Hospital to be used for ALP ads. But he did put down an important difference of principle—that is, he believes it was improper; it would have been improper and therefore it was improper for the health minister to do exactly what he was being asked whether he would do.
Ms Janet Davy, the Acting Chief Executive of the Department of Education and Training, said:
I can certainly answer from the Department of Education and Training’s point of view that we gave permission for no filming to occur on any of our school sites