Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 10 June 2009



Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 10 June 2009

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Parliamentary Record 6


Debates for 11th Assembly 2008 - 2012; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 11th Assembly 2008 - 2012




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 Wednesday 10 June 2009 3100 Dr BURNS: and I believe he should be warned in that regard. Madam SPEAKER: The member for Port Darwin has not broken any privilege. He did not actually discuss anything that happened. Mr ELFERINK: Thank you, Madam Speaker. We had the Labor Caucus, meeting outside of the Public Accounts Committee, having Ms Lawrie: Not true. Mr ELFERINK: Yes, it is true. It is true, because they admitted it. Were you in the Public Accounts Committee when that admission was made? No ... Members interjecting. Ms LAWRIE: A point of order, Madam Speaker! I remind the member for Port Darwin Madam SPEAKER: Sorry, I cannot hear. Ms LAWRIE: There is a privilege around discussions within the committees of parliament. Surely the member for Port Darwin is breaching that at the moment by trying to quote from discussions that may or may not have been held within the committee. Members interjecting. Madam SPEAKER: Order! Member for Port Darwin, resume your seat. Privilege relating to a committee is a very serious matter. However, it is my opinion that the member for Port Darwin is being very general in this matter and has not discussed anything in particular which happened in any committee. I allow his continued remarks, bearing that in mind, member for Port Darwin. Mr ELFERINK: If it gives comfort to the members opposite, I would not in any way breach any privileged information from that committee. Any detailed information we may have about the movement of particular finances, commercial contracts, and those sorts of things would not pass from my lips in relation to that committee. I am talking about how the committee is administered. It is administered with the dead and arrogant hand of this government. Is it going to be the case now that we have backbenchers in that committee looking after the public account? No. A minister of the Crown will be sitting in that committee Mr Mills: The Leader of Government Business. Mr ELFERINK: The Leader of Government Business, no less, will be sitting in that committee. What we will get out of that is the dead hand of this executive and arrogant government desperately trying to control people who want to look at what it is doing. That is what this comes down to. That is what this is about: a genuine committee of this parliament, with its terms of reference being to look at the public accounts - the Public Accounts Committee - is now going to have a Cabinet minister sitting in there policing it, trying to direct the Labor Caucus members as to the decisions they should make and what they should and should not look at. Anyone with even the most minor understanding of how this place works, and the relationship between the parliament and the government, can know the absurdity of the Public Accounts Committee having a Cabinet minister sitting in it. It would have been the equivalent of the Pentagon getting someone from the Kremlin to sit in on meetings in the late 1980s. It really would have. I will tell you that my answer to that is most definitely nyet - nyet, nyet, nyet. We cannot support this motion. If this government is not capable of producing the numbers it is required to produce, from its own backbench, because it sits in minority government, then it should sit in minority in the committee system as well. Members: Hear, hear! Dr BURNS (Leader of Government Business): Madam Speaker, responding to the offering by the member for Port Darwin, leaving the Kremlin aside, it is obvious to everyone - and he said it at the end of his speech - that this is a situation where the government is a minority government. The Public Accounts Committee standing orders dictate that there are three government members, two opposition members, and one Independent on the committee. Obviously, if he can count, it is necessary for a minister to go on to the Public Accounts Committee and the Estimates Committee. When I started in this parliament in 2001, I was very proud to be the Chair of the Estimates Committee. I will be proud to serve the Chair of the Public Accounts Committee and the Estimates Committee. I believe I bring much experience to that Estimates Committee, as a foundation member of that committee ... Members interjecting. Madam SPEAKER: Order! Dr BURNS: Madam Speaker, not one of the members opposite has been a minister, so I will

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