Page 2269 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 22 June 2011

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MS GALLAGHER: The answer is because he is right. It is not sustainable in the long term and I have made it clear from when I announced that the executive would be made up of four ministers that I would be looking to go to five ministers in a reasonable time and I expect that to be before the 2012 election.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary, Mr Coe?

MR COE: Chief Minister, given the current state, does that mean that Mr Hargreaves, Ms Porter and Dr Bourke are not currently up to being ministers?

MS GALLAGHER: Not at all. I know that it worries those opposite that those on this side are such a talented, energetic bunch, and we can sense the concern over there that you have about that. It must be hard having to come in here year after year and look at this government delivering for the people of Canberra.

I can tell you, Mr Coe, I will not be discussing the fifth minister’s appointment with you. You will find out about it in due course. I have a range of talented members to consider. In the short term, as we got through the surprise announcement of the former Chief Minister’s decision to retire, in the interests of stability going through the budget period and all that was before us, it was the right decision to take at that time. It is my expectation that we will move to five ministers in a relatively short period of time, but at this point in time, the Labor government—all seven of us—are working together to continue to deliver this government’s agenda to the people of Canberra.

MRS DUNNE: Supplementary question, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mrs Dunne.

MRS DUNNE: Chief Minister, haven’t you demonstrated by your decision that no-one on your backbench has the competence to be a minister?

MS GALLAGHER: I think I have just answered that. In the interests of stability in the short term, with the surprise announcement of the Chief Minister leaving, the week after the budget I thought it in the interests of all of us, including the new member who has joined our team, to be able to settle down, that four ministers provided that stability in the short term. It is not optimal. There is a vacancy there and it will be filled at the appropriate time.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Hargreaves.

MR HARGREAVES: Thanks very much, Mr Speaker. Chief Minister, have you considering offering Mr Coe a ministry?

MS GALLAGHER: It might shock people greatly to hear my answer but, no, I have not.

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