Territory Stories

Debates Day 3 - Thursday 19 June 2003



Debates Day 3 - Thursday 19 June 2003

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Parliamentary Record 13


Debates for 9th Assembly 2001 - 2005; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 9th Assembly 2001 - 2005




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES Thursday 19 June 2003 4437 time that a PAC has been used as such a vehicle. It is very bad that in this parliament, where we have a PAC which is supposed to look at how public monies are being expended on behalf of Territorians, that committee is used to pursue a political agenda. That is really something that should not be tolerated by any parliament. But could we convince the government that that should not happen? No, we could not. The chairman was so biased on that matter alone that you could not talk sense to that man. You spent months on that - a lot of money and time was spent, a lot of public servants were pulled in to address the committee - and at the end of the day, the report that was put out was a nothing report. It did nothing, it said nothing, it exonerated the members that you targeted. It exonerated the member for Drysdale, it exonerated the member for Katherine. That is the point. You used the PAC on a political exercise, and you got absolutely nowhere. To date, I have not heard that anybody there said: Oh, sorry guys, we did the wrong thing. Not a word! You guys have to think about it. You used a very significant committee of this parliament to try to achieve a political agenda. The day might come that it might turn around and bite you on the bum, then where are you going to be? Remember that before you came to government, the Labor Party had the policy that it was going to reform the PAC. It was going to make it open and accountable; your open and accountable government. Well, that is definitely not the case. You have a PAC that is dominated by the government, where the chairman has a casting vote. Now, you think about it. You were the ones who came up with, bless our hearts, bless our souls, we are doing it in such a nice way, such an open-handed way, that we will never try and hide anything. You and your transparency and this fiscal Madam ACTING DEPUTY SPEAKER: Member for Greatorex, could you please direct your remarks to the Chair. Dr LIM: Well, I am saying that you, meaning the government, and your Fiscal Transparency Act Ms Scrymgour: Yes, we are. Dr LIM: Yes, you are, and you stand over there trying to say: Hey, we are so open. Open with the opaqueness of glass, that is what you are. That is where this government has tried to fool Territorians, and I tell you what: Territorians are not fooled by you. They know that this open and accountable government is nothing but. Even your FOI legislation has been emasculated to just about nothing. Remember, you talked about how transparent you would be, how fair you are going to be to Territorians. Through the PAC exercise this government has forced very senior public servants to leave the service - Mr Ken Clarke, Mr Paul Bartholemew, and later on, Doctor Mr KIELY: A point of order, Madam Speaker! It has been said in this House before today the reasons why Dr LIM: his name will come back to me in a minute. That is the problem Madam ACTING DEPUTY SPEAKER: Member for Greatorex, there has been a point of order called, excuse me. Mr KIELY: The Under Treasurer who has been before the PAC has stated that he did not resign because of reasons associated with any work carried out. The same as Mr Bartholemew. He knows what the truth is. Madam ACTING DEPUTY SPEAKER: Member for Sanderson, there is no point of order. Dr LIM: The PAC dissenting report, states at point 7, the termination of two senior chief executive officers, Mr Ken Clarke and Mr Paul Bartholomew, as a result of PAC inquiries. Dr Burns: That is your opinion. Dr LIM: That is in the report. Dr Burns: You wrote that; Gerry did not write it. Dr LIM: There is no point of order. It is published, it is a tabled document in this parliament. That is what you guys need to know. You have to understand that. You do not, you see, that is your problem. This parliament is full of loud, new members who have no idea about sanding orders, and that is your problem. Members interjecting. Dr LIM: You try to stifle debate through your bullying tactics. Whenever someone gets up to speak, you try and drown the person out with your loud interjections. You are not going to get away with this. People in the public service know how you intimidate public servants, and Mr Ken Clarke and Mr Bartholomews terminations are significant indications of what you have done. This point number 8, is that not very significant? When you have the unprecedented action and it is unprecedented, I have never come across this - of a PAC member, the member for Sanderson, unbeknownst to the rest of the committee, obtaining government-sponsored legal advice to pursue another member of parliament.

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