Page 2850 - Week 10 - Tuesday, 13 August 2013

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Appropriation Bill 2013-2014

[Cognate bill:

Appropriation (Office of the Legislative Assembly) Bill 2013-2014

Cognate papers:

Estimates 2013-2014—Select Committee report

Estimates 2013-2014—Select Committee report—government response]

Detail stage

Schedule 1—Appropriations.

Proposed expenditure—Part 1.1—ACT Executive—$7,151,000 (payments on behalf of the territory), totalling $7,151,000.

MR HANSON (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (12.11): One could question whether we are getting good value out of our executive for that amount of money, but I will not go to the detail of that. The estimates committee looked at the executive in some detail, and there are a couple of recommendations as a result. Recommendation 12 of the committee report is that the Assembly move immediately to pass legislation to provide for a sixth minister, and recommendation 13 is that after legislation providing for a sixth minister is passed, the Chief Minister immediately appoint a sixth minister.

Looking at the government’s response to those two recommendations, one sees they have been rejected by the government. I think that is disappointing, and I will go to the specific language the government has used:

A recommendation that the Assembly move to pass legislation is a matter for the Assembly.

Well, yes, but the government adjourned that bill. I moved the legislation, or the legislation was tabled, and the government, including the Greens minister, adjourned it. It is really a matter for the government to debate it. It is a little bit disingenuous to say, “Well, you know, that’s a matter for the Assembly,” when it was actually the government that did not want to debate it.

As to the second recommendation that the Chief Minister should then immediately appoint a sixth minister, the government does not agree, saying the appointment of a sixth minister is not a role for the committee. That is like saying that nothing is the role of the estimates committee. Of course it is. The estimates committee is there to look at the effectiveness of the executive and provide recommendations as to how the executive could be made more effective and more efficient. So making this recommendation, of course, is within the purview of the committee. To try and bat it away by saying, “Well, it’s not for the committee to look at,” is an absolute nonsense.

The point about the sixth minister—I refer people to my speech when I tabled the legislation a couple of months ago—is that things can be done right now to enhance the executive. The Chief Minister has articulated the need for a larger Assembly, and I

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