Territory Stories

Debates Day 3 - Thursday 19 November 2015



Debates Day 3 - Thursday 19 November 2015

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Parliamentary Record 24


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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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES Thursday 19 November 2015 7410 started the hospital. We have a temporary fence up around the site. The member for Nhulunbuy protested further by saying the hospital would have been completed and operational by now had the Labor government still been in power. I doubt that sincerely, given their record for not achieving anything during the 11 years they were in power. What did they achieve? The member for Brennan put it quite nicely: a massive debt legacy. The Territory was heading toward bankruptcy under the Labor government and if they are ever in power again, without a doubt we will be heading down the same path. The member for Brennan was quite right to also say it is part of a cycle. It is a well-known political cycle in Australia that when left-wing governments are in power they spend like drunken sailors and put not only state jurisdictions into debt but the nation. The conservatives have to fix all the debt legacy problems left by Labor governments. I refer to what the member for Nelson said about the hospital and the hole in the ground. The concrete poured in that event was, in fact, a real piece of concrete Members interjecting. Mr Vowles: You said it with a straight face! Mr WESTRA van HOLTHE: I am happy to be considered a part-time comedian A member: It is a footing. Mr WESTRA van HOLTHE: It is a footing. I will give myself a bit of qualification ... Members interjecting. Mr WESTRA van HOLTHE: I would like to continue uninterrupted if possible, if the members opposite would stop interjecting. Madam SPEAKER: Order! Keep the noise down. Mr WESTRA van HOLTHE: I do not know the background of all members of the opposition. I do not know if any have ever worked a single day in the construction industry. Would that be a fair call? I am probably right. I have worked in the construction industry. One of the first jobs I ever had, coming out of high school and after spending some time at university, was working on construction sites. They were land release subdivisions on the Gold Coast in the suburbs behind Burleigh Heads in Queensland. I have some experience in construction. I also built my house in Alice Springs. For many years, on and off, my dad was a builder. As children, young adults and teenagers, we used to help him at his construction business, so I have a bit of an idea. For the edification for those opposite, when you pour concrete into the ground for a footing it is a part of the construction. That is the simple fact of the matter. What the managing contractor decided to do after that concrete was poured was a matter for them. They figured it was safer for them to backfill on top of the concrete. It is not uncommon to backfill recently-poured concrete because concrete cures at a particular rate. All concrete is different. There are different types of concrete for different purposes. You guys might not know that, but you are happy to make political capital out of something that would be the inconvenient truth, if you knew something about it. Apart from the safety reasons, it is possible the contractor backfilled to slow the rate of curing of the concrete because slowly-cured concrete cures harder. That is possible and it was their decision to make. Moving on to the next thing beyond that, the public of the Northern Territory generally wants to know what the government is up to. They do not want to know what we are doing internally, or about infighting or anything like that. They do not want to know about Delia Lawrie becoming an Independent to the Labor Party, or the lack of support for the current Leader of the Opposition in amongst your ranks. They want to know what the Territory government is doing. It is not uncommon for the government to hold media conferences and events to inform people of what is going on ... Ms Fyles: That they are digging a hole to fill it back up again. Mr WESTRA van HOLTHE: Fair dinkum! The Labor government used to do it all the time. I give you a classic example of the media stunts the Labor Party used to pull. When we were in opposition, many times we accused the Labor government of governing by glossy brochure. It used to produce all these glossy brochures on a regular basis, slip them into peoples letterboxes and put them in the post. Despite the fact it was doing very little, it had people convinced it was doing something. That was an ongoing political stunt perpetrated by the Labor Party when it was in government. We take journalists out and show them the site get them involved in doing these types of things. It is a normal part of the process to let people know. The media got onto this and thought it would be great to belt the government up because the footing that was poured was then backfilled for safety or whatever reasons the contractor decided to do it.