Territory Stories

Debates Day 4 - Friday 23 June 2006



Debates Day 4 - Friday 23 June 2006

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Parliamentary Record 8


Debates for 10th Assembly 2005 - 2008; 10th Assembly 2005 - 2008; Parliamentary Record; ParliamentNT




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 Friday 23 June 2006 2642 For those in Hansard, I cannot imagine how difficult it would be to try and get the thread of argument and to string together in a sensible way the words that are batted backwards and forwards. Sometimes I wonder whether it is actually is worth it. However, it is good to have that record and I appreciate the effort that is taken to transcribe those words. It surprises me as we grow accustomed to our task in here, how seriously the public servants you meet in the street take this. There is some benefit in doing a complete assessment of your area of operation. I hope that it has lasting merit in taking that time to do an audit. I am always a little distressed when I see public servants thoroughly prepared and sitting anxiously for three-and-a-half hours, to find that they get no questions at all. I thank the research section of the parliamentary library for the contribution that was made from that quarter as well. My daily properly-made coffee from Speakers Corner made all the difference. Thank you for the support that you provided, not to mention the food. To my fellow members of the PAC, it was an exercise and a journey that we went through together and I enjoyed working with each member. To reflect in all the comings and goings, largely it has all be touched upon. It is our responsibility to see whether the budget is being managed as well as it could be. We have made our point and will restate that we do have concerns over the rising level of debt. We hold concerns about the cost of the public sector wages bill, and I know the Treasurer also does share these concerns. We can play our game across the Chamber, but they are issues that remain of interest and concern to the opposition and many members of our community. The reality that there is, at this same time, a reduction in the infrastructure spend will pose some implications into the future. There was strengthening of the perception that the focus of this government, as other governments, can either be on a progressive and outward looking vision or a distraction and a focusing and a fixing on re-election. There were many things that reminded me that there is this bug running through this system; that is, the focus on the need to be re-elected. That promotes a government that becomes free of ideology and just driven by that simple objective: whatever it takes, let us do it so that we can maximise our political benefit. There were a couple of things that came up through the course of the proceedings which may be small but they are disturbing, nonetheless. One was to find that it was at a cost of $14 per signature that taxpayers paid to have their names on a petition to send to Canberra. It was disturbing also to see that, on two occasions, there was evidence of Labor backbenchers being given support over and above the Independent and opposition members. It is also of concern, having spent a short time on the government benches as a backbencher, to weigh carefully the good intentions of the then opposition, particularly with regards to the self-indulgent nature of government to spend extraordinary amounts of money on their own presentation and perception within the community. We found that reinforced again and again at the cost that goes into publications and promotions and spin. Those sorts of things are of concern because of the inconsistent nature of the position that was once held when they were in opposition. I say these words very mindfully, because I trust there comes a time - I hope I have an opportunity - to stand by those words and see whether I am judged by the standards that I am referring to right now. On the issue of vision, I believe everyone, particularly in recent times, is desperate for vision and leadership. The issues that we have seen presented to us on a daily basis in recent times is causing a deeper level of concern within our community, and people are starting to ask for that vision and leadership. It has become a commodity that is desired deeply. I hope that we can throw off the shackles of seeing a vision that takes us just as far as the next election. There are several elements that I saw through these whole proceedings that will trap us into that cycle. I would like to find the way, as one member, along with members of opposition, Independent members and members on the other side of the Chamber, to find a way where we can free ourselves of that to make a noticeable difference. The last thing I wish to say is that I will leave it. I will come back to that. It is just in a practical sense the process is referred to at times as being a problem and the tennis game will be played. Not enough time, says the opposition, and the government members say: You do not know how to manage your time, and checkmate, whacko! There is probably somewhere in between that where we could start to think about it. What is the purpose of the proceedings? Just to say that we have this new process and tick that off, as long as it looks okay and sounds like the real thing and delivers almost what you want, then near enough is good enough. I do not think so. We actually want to make sure it is properly weighed, balanced and checked. In spite of all the propaganda that has gone on, the process that I saw as a member of government, as a backbencher, had some merit as

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