Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 27 November 2002



Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 27 November 2002

Other title

Parliamentary Record 9


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




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





Publisher name

Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

Place of publication


File type



Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

Copyright owner

Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



Parent handle


Citation address


Page content

DEBATES - Wednesday 27 November 2002 hear this, Madam Speaker, because you know at the end of the day that if additional workload is put on you without cost, your good officers are going to be the ones ferreting around looking for things to cut or jettison in an aborted attempt to try to find the cash for this committee. Dont think this can be done cheaply. We have yet to meet, and in meeting we might well decide, for instance, that we should go back out to the uranium province. We might well decide that we should look at other jurisdictions. We might decide that we should have some formal expert advice. You might well find you have to pay for that. For all of those reasons, I would like some assurance that this is not going to be nobbled by some gammon efficiency drive so that when we become involved with it, they say: You really dont need that much because all you are going to do is a bit of a desktop exercise looking at an EPA. And the cane toad thing, you can probably get that out of the NT Library, both of which are probably true. But if that is the case, why doesnt the minister do it? Why have us run around and do this for him if it is going to be some desktop exercise where we gather together a few bits of paper, come up with some recommendations which may not be to his liking, and then he has to go through the business of standing in parliament and saying why he disagrees with us. Why put yourself to that trouble? Make sure the committee is focussed on working and delivering outcomes, all that rhetoric that you read in various bureaucratic documents. I would hope in his opportunity for a rejoinder, the minister can tell us the route by which additional references will be made and give us the assurance, the ready assurance, that having decided on our work program, that it will be adequately funded. I would also like him to tell us what sort of timeline he would like on this. It is pretty rare for a minister to give someone a job and say off you go and I dont really care when you come back. You feel like there is the potential for us to be sent on a fools errand here. I would like him to tell us that he would expect this within the first quarter or the second quarter of next year and we would come back with recommendations. I think that we could make that deadline and those timetables are within making. Having decided they want an EPA, I would like him to know that if we come up with recommendations we expect that it would become a matter for some priority for government and it would not be drawn out with various devices parading as consultation and the intricacies of drafting legislation; that it would come to this parliament quickly so that they can set up their EPA. These are my comments on it the matter. I am disappointed with the early behaviour of the chairman, but that is probably something we can take up in session. Her puerile and juvenile behaviour through much of the debate, her attitude at being less than partial in virtually everything she talks about in relation to the CLP, does not mark her well as a person to sit as a chairman on a committee like this. But, lets give her a shot, lets see how she goes. I am heartened that she took offence at the label of being tardy to meetings, even though that is demonstrably true. It is good that that sort of label does offend her. Hopefully, we can get her in quick, we can get the meetings under way, we can run through agendas and we can really get cracking. Mr KIELY: A point of order, Madam Speaker! Just as members are not allowed to refer to the presence or otherwise of members in the Chamber, I believe that same rule applies to parliamentary committees which are an extension of the Chambers business. Madam SPEAKER: No, there is no point of order. Mr DUNHAM: Madam Speaker, it is an esoteric point. Okay, lets say - and I will be polite to the member for Karama here - she is a person who likes to get to meetings on time. If that is the case, if that is the mark she would like to be measured by, I am happy with that, because I hope this committee does a lot of work. Cane toads are coming to Darwin. I think I saw one on Leanyer Drive last week. I did a u-tum but I could not find the particular beast. I would be very surprised if cane toads are not somewhere around the Darwin and outer Darwin suburbs by now. Certainly they are right through Katherine, right through the Katherine River valley, and it is a very easy thing for these beasties to hitch rides as they have done in the past. I would suspect with the commuting between Katherine/Darwin done on an extremely regular basis that we could have them here now. The inevitability of them being here is something we have to grapple with. Lets looks at the most effective way to control the problem and that work has largely been done. I will judge it as we go through. We might find something that Queensland has not found in 50 years and our own researchers over the last couple of decades have not found, but lets give it a shot. If I sound a bit suspicious and cynical, it is because I am suspicious and cynical. This committee has to be judged by regular reporting to this parliament and it has to be judged by a workload that gets it into the field quickly and a resource phase that makes sure it can do its job. 3062