Page 495 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 15 February 2017
the public by delivering on our commitments. It is standard operating procedure in governments all around the country, no matter which political persuasion they are, for the public service to be involved in implementing the election commitments of the party elected to government or, in the ACT’s case, the parties elected to government.
It is actually the case that our caretaker convention guide requires the public service to prepare incoming minister briefs for the new government based on the election commitments from each of the parties. Had the Liberal Party been elected to government, Mr Hanson, presumably, and Mr Coe would have found themselves with folders full of briefs prepared by the public service on how best to implement their election commitments. They would have found themselves requiring the public service to report regularly on progress of their implementation. That is exactly the role. I do not consider that to be a politicisation of the public service. I think there is an expectation that the government, whoever it was that got elected, follows through on the commitments it took to the election. The public service looks at those commitments, comes up with an implementation plan, and goes about it.
In this case, the parliamentary agreement reflects the things that the two parties have agreed to carry forward as part of government. There will be other things that come up along the way, but they are the ones out of the election that we specifically said were being prioritised and would be implemented, and we expected the public service to work with the government to deliver those outcomes. That, to me, is what the agreement reflects. That is why the public service is involved.
The other thing that I think is very important here is one of transparency and accountability. Members who were here last term will recall that on a number of occasions Liberal members in this place regularly asked questions in the chamber about the parliamentary agreement, particularly its implementation. In formally outlining in the agreement processes for regular reporting, including annual public statements, we are ensuring that we stay accountable to the ACT public so that they can see for themselves whether we are implementing the items that each party to the agreement promised. People voted for us, presumably, on the basis of some of those items.
We regularly hear calls from the opposition for transparency and accountability. I think that that is exactly what this parliamentary agreement reflects. It has been made public since it was first signed. It is publicly available. I know it is on the Green party website. I do not know if the Labor Party have it on their website. I have not looked; I do not read the Labor Party website terribly often, I must confess.
Mr Coe: It is not on the government’s because it is not a government document.
MR RATTENBURY: It is publicly available. I expect to be held accountable to it. That is why there is a reporting mechanism in there. It is necessary for the government to do that. I think the community expects it. The level of transparency is extremely high on this. I think that is something the community should be comfortable with. We will not be supporting Mr Coe’s motion today. We will, in fact, be supporting the amendment brought forward by the Chief Minister.