Page 707 - Week 02 - Thursday, 10 March 2011

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Mr Hanson: Meredith watched it on TV.

MS GALLAGHER: Mr Hanson does not lose an opportunity to have a go at another member in this place. It has taken him 39 minutes to get his first nasty jibe in. Mr Hanson, sometimes you sit in your office, too, thankfully for the rest of us. We enjoy that time. What I am trying to say here is that all 17 members work hard on the estimates process. I do not think we need to disintegrate into an argument of who works harder than someone else on the budget.

There should be ways to improve the estimates process. Listening to Mr Smyth, from my point of view, the Liberal opposition uses the estimates process as a grandstanding forum for a month to pursue any item that they feel like. Most of it is not related to scrutiny of the appropriation bill before them. I think the behaviour of the opposition on estimates last year and some of the tactics they used could be improved.

Mr Smyth: Goodness me. So holding you accountable is not our job?

MS GALLAGHER: I am giving you feedback, Mr Smyth, as the person who has just put forward to the Assembly that the Liberals are the hardest working in keeping the government honest. I think if you looked to yourself to improve the behaviour of the Liberal Party in the estimates process, everyone would be better off for it.

Mr Corbell’s amendments, which I support, around moving the reporting date to one week earlier is not to give the government two weeks to respond, as Mr Smyth alleges. It is around allowing a full two weeks in June for a debate on the appropriation bill. It means that the government would be able to hand their response to the Assembly on the first sitting day in June, and then we could move straight into the budget debate over a two-week period instead of over a one-week period.

That is the intention behind the government’s amendment. It is unfortunate that we spend the first sitting week of June putting together our response to the estimates process. It would certainly assist the executive to look at the report, to provide that level of consideration to the report, to formulate a response and then to allow the Assembly four sitting days, if you exclude private members’ days, for debate on the budget. That is the intention behind those amendments.

Question put:

That Ms Hunter’s amendment be agreed to.

The Assembly voted—

Ayes 4

Noes 11

Ms Bresnan

Mr Rattenbury

Mr Barr

Ms Gallagher

Ms Hunter

Ms Burch

Mr Hanson

Ms Le Couteur

Mr Coe

Mr Hargreaves

Mr Corbell

Mr Smyth

Mr Doszpot

Mr Stanhope

Mrs Dunne

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