Page 469 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 15 February 2017
Of course, this was reaffirmed by Minister Corbell, back in 2010. He said:
He was talking to the Speaker, Mr Rattenbury—
does deserve to be upheld because you have drawn a very clear distinction between the political decisions that are taken between political parties in this place and decisions that are taken by the government in this place for which the government is accountable to this Assembly.
He goes on to say:
You simply indicated that there is nowhere in the administrative orders and there is nowhere in terms of ministers’ responsibility in this place for a capacity for questions about the parliamentary agreement between the Labor and Greens parties because they are no decision of the government; they are not something that has been entered into between the government and the Greens. They are not an agreement between the territory, as a body politic, and the ACT Greens; they are an agreement between the Australian Labor Party, ACT branch, parliamentary party, and the ACT Greens.
Ms Bresnan also contributed to that debate. She said:
There is a distinction between the agreement and ministerial conduct.
That is exactly the point here. The Chief Minister’s agency has no responsibility whatsoever for this parliamentary agreement. In 2013, we had further discussion of this. Again, it was reaffirmed that the parliamentary agreement was not a government document. In fact, even if you look at what happened in December last year after the election, the Chief Minister tabled a document which said:
Parliamentary Agreement for the 9th Assembly of the Australian Capital Territory, Agreement between Mr Andrew Barr MLA, leader of the Australian Labor Party ACT Branch, Mr Shane Rattenbury MLA, ACT Greens Member for Kurrajong, and Ms Caroline Le Couteur MLA, ACT Greens Member for Murrumbidgee.”
There can be no doubt that this is a party-political document. If the government is now going to say that it is actually a government document and that it is appropriate for government resources to contribute to this document, that I think is a very worrying precedent.
It means, in effect, that the government can get involved with the negotiations for the next parliamentary agreement, for amendments to this parliamentary agreement or, in fact, the government using government resources, in effect, to propose reforms to the current parliamentary agreement.
In effect, what this document does is politicise the head of the ACT public service. I think it puts the head of the public service in an unenviable position. Quite frankly, I