Debates Day 4 - Friday 23 June 2006
Parliamentary Record 8
Debates for 10th Assembly 2005 - 2008; 10th Assembly 2005 - 2008; Parliamentary Record; ParliamentNT
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES Friday 23 June 2006 2631 ask next time that more time be afforded to us. We, nevertheless, look forward to the next estimates process. Mr WARREN: Mr Acting Chairman, I take pleasure in presenting my report to parliament on my view of estimates week. I would like to start out by thanking the Treasurer for Budget 2006-07, which clearly stood up to scrutiny - it really has. You should be very proud of the budget you have presented and how it has stood up. This was my first year on the PAC and also I had the honour of being the deputy chairman for the past week, a position in which I actually spent some 20 hours over the four days. It was quite strenuous and challenging at times but, I tell you what, it was one of the most enjoyable things I have had in parliament so far. I really did enjoy myself. It was very much to the tutelage of the current Chairman, of course. In regard to the particular things that I dealt with over the four days, I had the pleasure of chairing a session on Tuesday with the Treasurer, who is also the Minister for Employment, Education and Training and the Minister for Racing, Gaming and Licensing. I was very impressed with the way he handled himself and answered those questions quite appropriately. On Wednesday, I chaired a session with the Minister for Planning and Lands and Infrastructure and Transport. That also, was a very enlightening session and I learnt so much from it. I thank you for that too. On Thursday, I had the Minister for Primary, Industry and Fisheries, who has, obviously, got over the lure of the Territory, in his capacity as the Minister for Mines and Energy. There were a couple of elements that we missed out there. Anyway, it was a great session as well. On Thursday, I also chaired the session with the Minister for Natural Resources, Environment and the Arts and also Parks and Wildlife. I know there were a lot of interruptions there, minister, but I believe you handled yourself quite eloquently, thank you. Finally, today was the Minister for Family and Community Services who had a challenging day. However, she stood up very well; handled herself like all the other ministers that I had the privilege of watching, who handled themselves very well, and is a pride to this side of the House Members interjecting. Mr ACTING CHAIRMAN: Order, order! Honourable members, let the member finish. Mr WARREN: I would like to concur with the comments of the Chairman who made his speech earlier. He succinctly stated the case of this side of the House, and also how he saw the estimates week. While I will not add to any of those comments other than to say that it was a pleasure to work in relay with you, Mr Chairman. I learnt so much from you. What was disappointing, being my first true close encounter with estimates, was the lack of preparation and lack of time management by opposition members. I was a little disappointed in that. In fact, I was very disappointed in that, notwithstanding the members for Blain and Katherine did, at times, have some very valuable input into the debate. I thank them for their input. The Independents, obviously, took the time to learn their stuff and ask in-depth questions. I enjoyed chairing their sessions as well and their questions. I did thank the member for Blain and now he has arrived. I was thanking you before. Mr Mills: Oh, thank you. I will write you into my speech too. Mr WARREN: Thank you very much. A lot of the opposition questions I heard, though, unfortunately, I had previously heard in parliament. They were raised, particularly in Question Time, and I felt that the opposition wasted a valuable opportunity to get stuck into the budget by asking too many questions that really did not relate. Anyway, that is the nature of the beast and you will have your chance next year. In contrast, the ministers were all fully prepared and very much on top of their portfolios, and that showed through very clearly. I enjoyed chairing their sessions. I would like to conclude by thanking the department staff. Obviously, they spent a lot of time and effort when questions were referred to them; they were very much on top of it. We should, as Territorians, be very proud because our public service is in very good hands if we have public servants of that calibre. Members: Hear, hear! Mr WARREN: I am disappointed that some of them, having obviously done a lot of research, did not get a chance to explain what they are doing. Anyway, hopefully, we can look at those aspects in PAC, so that all questions get covered if the opposition are prepared to have a bit more time management. I would like to thank the Legislative Assembly staff Members: Hear, hear!
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