Page 5663 - Week 15 - Thursday, 10 December 2009

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Mr Stanhope: Well, treat it seriously.


MRS DUNNE: Mr Corbell’s disregard for the committee system is no better exemplified than in his outburst in this place on 19 November last, when he made, as he put it, “some observations” of his own on the JACS committee report on the Alexander Maconochie Centre. Having only had an opportunity—again as he put it—“to briefly read the report and its key findings and recommendations”, he had been able, nonetheless, to gain such a depth of understanding of the report that he was able to pronounce the committee’s inquiry as “a sham from go to whoa”.

Indeed, that brief reading gave him a sufficient depth of knowledge of the content of the report to enable him to pronounce the entire report, to repeat that pronouncement:

This report is a sham, it should be considered a sham …

We have a minister in the ACT government able to get such a full grasp of a committee report, tabled only minutes before he rose to speak, that he was able to pronounce both the inquiry and the report a sham. In short, the JACS committee had caught Mr Corbell short and he knew it. The committee had delivered a frank and fearless report and Mr Corbell simply, as the pithy line from A Few Good Men put it, could not handle the truth. Mr Corbell’s outburst was nothing short of shameful and goes to the heart of what this motion is about.

The heart of this motion is about respect. It is about respect for the role of Assembly committees. It is about respect for the committee processes. It is about respect for the right of committees to drill down and examine in detail and depth the efficacy of government decision-making, policy development and legislative process, as well as looking at issues that are of importance to our constituents. It is about respect for the right of the committee to deliver reports without fear or favour.

It is about respect for the rights of committees to expect respectful and considered responses from government, not the likes of Mr Corbell’s tirade of abuse, a tirade much like he might have given if he were a little boy who had lost his lolly. It was a shameful tirade of a response that showed that there was no respect for the JACS committee and the outcomes of the considerable and complex work done by that committee.

Just to be clear, we are not just talking about respectful responses from government. We are also talking about the speeches in the Assembly once a committee report has been presented. We are also talking about evidence given in hearings. We are talking about responses to questions. We are talking about timeliness of responses to questions taken on notice. And here, Mr Assistant Speaker, I have to look at your record.

Your performance before the estimates committee of inquiry into the 2007-08 budget is an example of what I am talking about. Your behaviour before the committee was so appalling—

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