Territory Stories

Debates Day 3 - Thursday 13 February 2014



Debates Day 3 - Thursday 13 February 2014

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Parliamentary Record 10


Debates for 12th Assembly 2012 - 2016; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 12th Assembly 2012 - 2016




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Hansard Office

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES Thursday 13 February 2014 3402 committee process where you can troll through the facts and information. I genuinely hope I am wrong in what I see happening and what I have grave concerns for. A little knowledge goes a very long way, and I have five years of knowledge as shareholding minister of Power and Water. I can read the documents, I understand, I know the experts; I can make calls and listen to people who are genuinely informed. I am gravely concerned to the point where I am supporting the Independent members motion for a suspension of standing orders to debate a referral to committee. If you are right in what you are doing, if this is the right thing to do, a committee will validate that, without a shred of doubt. You have the weight of government to call as many experts and as much evidence as you like. If you are wrong, perhaps that outcome is in the best interests of Territorians in that the committee can provide recommendations about how best to do what your policy intent is. Government sets policy; it is your policy intent. Perhaps with committee analysis there is a way to implement your policy intent that does not have the cost consequences we are currently seeing. I urge you to become transparent and listen to what we are requesting in parliament today. It is not another committee. We say you have existing committees within this parliament and it is your choice which one you refer it to. Both the PAC and the energy committee have capable people on them who can convene, bring experts and consult. Trust your own people on those committees. Mr ELFERINK (Attorney-General and Justice): Madam Speaker, the member for Nelson often gives the impression he is an open operator in this House. Frankly, he had a very simple way of approaching this, and it goes to the heart of what is happening here. During the luncheon adjournment, he could have called my office, come to see me, and said what he wanted to do. If I had said no at that stage, and he then ran this motion, that is fine, but he did not do that. He spoke to the Labor Party because he clearly sees himself as an extension of it. He supported the Labor Party when it was in government and in crisis, continues to support it now and consistently does so in this House. He drapes himself in the tissue thin cloak of independence, but if you lift that drapery up one inch, you see his Labor sympathies soaking through the cloth. That is why he has sought to entrap government with this motion. It is the motion he will now run with every legislative instrument that runs through the House because the second component of the member for Nelsons world view is, if in doubt, send it to a committee. He was convinced the last time he had some real power in this House that the solution to all his problems was a committee. I will never forget that. He set up the Council of Territory Cooperation and had no idea when he suggested it what he was setting up Mr WOOD: A point of order, Madam Speaker! Standing Order 113: relevance. The motion is to suspend standing orders. Madam SPEAKER: There is a fair amount of latitude as to what the Attorney-General can talk about. Mr ELFERINK: It goes to the heart of requirements for a committee, which is what this motion is all about. However, to go to the heart of that issue, one has to explore the motives of the member seeking for it to be referred to a committee. The member for Nelson has a history of taking things to committees. What did the Council of Territory Cooperation achieve other than keeping Labor in power, where his sympathies were anyhow? Mr Styles: It spent a lot of money. Mr ELFERINK: If memory serves me, it spent about $600 000 or $700 000. For what? To keep government accountable? It barely managed to do that. By the time it responded, government had consistently moved on ... Mr Wood: You used it when you wanted to. You asked about Mataranka. How is Mataranka going now? Mr ELFERINK: The agreement the member for Nelson struck with the former government could not be and was not enforced. How is the swimming pool going? That government hinged on the fact this member would have a swimming pool built immediately. It never happened, and he rolled over because the member for Nelsons approach in this House is to roll over every time something becomes hard. Every time something becomes difficult, send it to a committee; avoid making a decision at all costs. That is at the heart of the member for Nelsons motives. This motion before the House is an extension of that philosophy. If members of this House want a committee, look around you. Look up, look at the bleachers, look at the people sitting in this House. This is a committee. This is the committee the people of the Northern Territory elected to govern on their behalf. We have subcommittees of this House to