Page 3408 - Week 08 - Thursday, 23 August 2012

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Financial Management Act 1996—Financial Management (Credit Facility) Approval 2012 (No 1)—Disallowable Instrument DI2012-208

Motion to disallow

Debate resumed.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (3.46): The opposition will be supporting the disallowance motion for this disallowable instrument. I think people need to be aware of some of the history of how the opposition at least came to be aware of what may or may not have happened. I was approached during the break by an emissary of the government with some interesting reasons as to why this should go ahead. Part of it was that it was not included in the budget; it was overlooked by the budget.

It was quite an interesting saga as to how we were brought into knowledge of this disallowable instrument. It appears that the DI went to cabinet on 24 July in preparation for the sitting fortnight. The interesting thing is that it was not until the very last minute, when I actually had to ask the Treasurer for a briefing, that the Treasurer gracefully gave me a briefing. I thank him for the briefing. The officials were good, as they always are. It was almost clandestine. It almost had an Agatha Christie air: will we or won’t we? Will this happen or won’t it happen?

This does go to the way in which the government conduct their business. This is potentially the last sitting day of the year. This would have been the last sitting day. Tomorrow, of course, will now be the last sitting day of the term. The government had important business that they had not given due consideration to. It is very important business for the future of the University of Canberra. Not moving this disallowable instrument today means this matter would lapse.

It is my understanding that the government have been aware of this since February, perhaps earlier; yet no attempt was made to get this into the Assembly earlier. The notice was given yesterday with debate today. You would have to question what the government are up to. How seriously do they take the future of institutions like the University of Canberra when they cannot even arrange a disallowable instrument which they have known about since at least February? February, March, April, May, June, July—it goes on and on.

I thank the Treasurer for the briefing that we had. I think during the briefing some of his officials learned what was going on because of the way the questions were being asked and the answers that were given. I think there is a lot of enlightenment now. The opposition is grateful for the briefing and I am sure there are some officials who actually learned what was really going on.

If you follow the course, then we get to this morning. Of course, it is not listed on the notice paper. There has been no courtesy whatsoever to say, “Apparently we should have got it to admin and procedures last week because that is when admin and procedures set Assembly business for today, but we weren’t ready because we didn’t have the DI done, so we had not told them.” So it goes on. There was not even a

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