Debates and Questions - Day 1 - 24 April 2020
Parliamentary Record 27
Debates and Questions for 13th Assembly 2019 - 2020; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 13th Assembly 2016 - 2020
Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
Debates and Questions
Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)
Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES AND QUESTIONS Friday 24 April 2020 8326 We were told by the then Opposition Leader: Confidence in the integrity of public officials and government processes is essential if we are to meet the considerable challenges that we face and to grasp the opportunities that we share. Not only is open government the right thing to do, it's the smart thing to do. Open Government and the trust that it builds is the bedrock for the partnerships and collaboration we need as a community to improve the lives of all Territorians Territory Labor believes in open, accountable and transparent Government. Territorians have the right to access Government information it belongs to all of us. Open, transparent and accountable Government is also the best way to maximise the health and prosperity of the whole community. Not only is it the right thing to do but its the smart thing to do Well, we opened parliament today expecting to have a discussion about the order of business and what that would include or not include, and the Attorney-General shut it down. She did not want to demonstrate this great commitment to your transparent government and being open and honest with Territorians. She wanted to skip over the controversial decisions this government has made about how we will function as a parliament today. Probably one of the most controversial things I have heard for some time from this government is that there is no Question Time today. They have decided not to have Question Time when this Restoring Integrity to Government document includes a big section on reforming Question Time. This great commitment was to making Question Time more fruitful and productive, ensuring that parliament was opened up to the people and that Question Time reflected the interests and concerns of Territorians. Today, in parliament, there will be no Question Time, which flies in the face of this great commitment by Territory Labor going back a few years from the Restoring Integrity to Government: Trust and Integrity Reform Discussion Paper. Today we see a backflip. We see this government demonstrating hypocrisy and insincerity and generating a distinct lack of trust in what is going on in the parliament. In this document following the discussion on Question Time is the section on opening up the parliament to the people, providing greater transparency and greater scrutiny of parliament. It is disappointing that we are in the middle of an economic, health and social crisis and this government does not want to open itself up to being scrutinised. It is not allowing Territorians to have clear sight into what is going on within our government. It is wrong. It flies in the face of what this government went to the 2016 election promising the people of the Northern Territory. We need to use parliament, as is intended, to scrutinise government. Today that will not happen. We cannot have Question Time, but we can listen to the Member for Sanderson give her Legislation Scrutiny Committee report. How does that work? We cannot have Question Time, but we can listen to the adjournment speeches of members who will, no doubt, tell us how they went to the local school and presented a medal, to the pony club and gave out a few medals or met with the local senior citizens and had a lovely morning tea. We can hear about all those things, which are very important to us as local elected members, but I am sensing a little inconsistency in the decisions made about how we conduct parliament today. Yes, we can have some things, but we cannot have the things that mean we will be scrutinised or difficult questions about where is all the money that you are spending is coming from and how will you pay it back. The government does not want to talk about those things because, of course, we are 120 days out from the election they would prefer to win, that they obviously intend to win, and they will not allow parliament to provide any avenue to expose their weakness or sensitivity.
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