Page 5615 - Week 15 - Wednesday, 9 December 2009

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Mr Speaker, what I have learned is that the opposition have no policies. They talk about respecting the Assembly, but really they are mostly around demanding respect for themselves. They use this place not to further the cause of people of our community but to play their silly games. They can play their games, Mr Speaker. I will get on with the job that I was elected to do—delivering for the people of the Canberra community.

Ministerial responsibilities

MR SESELJA (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (6.35): I had not intended to speak but I was drawn into it by that extraordinary performance by Ms Burch. It is difficult to know where to start with Ms Burch based on her first 40 days. It really is quite difficult, but I will attempt to.

For Ms Burch to criticise the opposition, given her extraordinarily lacklustre start to her time in the ministry, is quite extraordinary. We have seen time and time again in this place the embarrassing pauses and the inability to answer questions. This has been consistent. This has been consistent since she came into the job, it would seem. There has been a consistent effort to try and answer questions, it would seem, but she has been completely unable to. And now after every question time we are subjected to the Joy Burch half-hour, when Ms Burch comes in and answers all the questions that she could not answer the day before, with answers prepared by her department.

We saw another example. When Mr Coe does ask her questions—I think this was in a committee hearing—there does not seem to be any ability to answer. You do question why we have a minister if the minister cannot answer any of the questions. We had Mr Coe asking a series of questions recently. I quote:

MR COE: Minister, would you please let me know what you feel is the future of a parole framework for youth offenders?

Ms Burch: A parole framework?

MR COE: A parole framework.

Ms Burch: Of the department on that?

MR COE: Or your own view on that—the future of some sort of parole framework.

Mr Duggan: I might ask Mr Reid to pop up and talk about that.

MR COE: You are more than welcome to throw in your own views, Joy.

Ms Burch: Thank you, Mr Coe; I am sure I will when I want to.

Unfortunately, we did not hear them. We did not hear the views. We only get whatever is given by the department. Departments are important, but so are ministers. Ministers are important for representing the people. Ministers are important for actually making decisions. To date we have not seen anything from this minister that would give us any confidence that she has any ability to make her own decisions.

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