Page 4775 - Week 13 - Wednesday, 1 November 2017
and just trust the Chief Minister and Treasurer that he is going to put in the right figure.
How can Ms Le Couteur possibly support the elimination of $25,000? How can she possibly not support a $12,500 threshold? It is about changing one number in one query. That is all it takes, Ms Le Couteur. It is the same financial system for payments below $25,000 as it is for payments above $25,000. So it is not good enough for Ms Le Couteur to come into this place and say it cannot be done. It can be done, and it should be done.
What is more, the situation is going to be even worse as a result of what Mr Barr is proposing. He is moving to abolish the $25,000 figure and putting in a “prescribed amount”. That is outrageous. A query can be changed to $12,500 in one movement; that is all it takes. All that is happening at the moment is that every month they are running a query for all payments greater than $25,000, exporting to a CSV and uploading it to data.act.gov.au. Exactly the same process is involved except it would involve a $12,500 query rather than a $25,000 query. That is all it takes.
I am willing to accept that perhaps they do not have the systems to synch the contracts with the payments. Quite frankly, I think that is why you have legislation like this—to make them do it—but I at least comprehend the argument there. However, I do not comprehend the argument that changing a query to $12,500 is impossible. It is possible and, in fact, as Ms Le Couteur said, she believes they are entirely doable. It is doable, and it will be a disgrace if Ms Le Couteur does not backtrack on this right away. When it comes to amendment No 4 Ms Le Couteur must support this because otherwise she will be supporting the abolition of the $25,000 threshold. We need to go further than that; we need to make it $12,500. We need to have the guts to change that query and make that two-second change in that export, because that is all it takes.
As for the others, I am not surprised. We did not come into the chamber today with high hopes. We do not have high hopes for the consorting laws. We do not have high hopes for the dangerous dogs, and we certainly do not have high hopes when it comes to transparency legislation, because the Labor Party and Greens have form. They are running a protection racket for themselves. It is not good enough. I call on the individual members of the Labor Party and the Greens to reflect on this legislation. I imagine the vast majority of them have not even opened it up. I imagine the vast majority of them got the legislation and put it in the bin as soon as they got it and they are just trusting that the Treasurer is going to give them advice on whether to say yes or no at the right time. Well, that is not good enough when we are talking about transparency and integrity. It is that very apathy, that very complacency, that has led to all the problems in the LDA and throughout the ACT government with regard to cultural malaise.
It is a disgrace that Labor and the Greens are colluding to not only get rid of a $25,000 threshold but, in effect, give the government far more scope to hide payments than ever before. This is outrageous, and I very much hope that Ms Le Couteur and the Labor Party reflect on this before we vote on the individual amendments.
Question resolved in the affirmative.