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Debates and Questions - Day 1 - 24 April 2020



Debates and Questions - Day 1 - 24 April 2020

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Parliamentary Record 27


Debates and Questions for 13th Assembly 2019 - 2020; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 13th Assembly 2016 - 2020




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Debates and Questions

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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 AND QUESTIONS Friday 24 April 2020 8368 A couple of years ago I made a referral to the PAC through parliament that it scrutinise the police service of the Northern Territory from top to bottom to look at the problems and issues arising during that time. But it was a big, fat no. To be honest, the only inquiry I remember the PAC doingthere have been a fewwas the taxi inquiry that I referred straight up at the end of 2016/early 2017. That was a valuable piece of work which sat on someones desk in government for two-and-a-bit years. The recommendations, for the most part, were not implemented. There was another inquiry into the Infrastructure Development Fundor was that one blocked, too? All of a sudden the PAC coming to favour is being used by the government to demonstrate its willingness to be open and accountable. As I stand here today, the only information I have on these hearings due to happen once a month, is that they start next Thursday and will be held monthly. How long will they go for? Is it an hour? Two hours? As long as it takes? Is it half a day? If this is the only opportunity we have, as members of the Chamber, to scrutinise the government on its expenditure for what you are proposing today, how much it will cost and where the money will come from to pay for reductions to utility bills, how do I plug into that? I am not a member of the Public Accounts Committee, I do not have a seat at the table and I live in Alice Springs. It is hard to get from Alice Springs to Darwin at the moment. The minimum amount of time I have to spend here to attend todays sittings is five days. Flying here, the latest I could get here was Wednesday and the earliest I can leave is Monday. There are all sorts of limitations on how we behave and participate in these forums. There are half a dozen people on the line at the moment listening to this debate. How will the PAC operate next Thursday when it meets for the first time and how can the members on the phone plug into the committee to ask questions and hold this government to account? Those questions need to be answered now, not at your leisure, so we can go back to our constituents. I will go back to mine, who are 1500 kilometres away, to find out what questions they would like answered. The idea of scrutinising government has diminished to a couple of PAC meetings held monthly and we do not know the details. That is concerning. We do not know if we are meeting againwhen is the next sittings of the NT parliament? I happened to hear the treasurer on radio talking about how we might meet again in June. That has not been communicated to anyone on this side of the room; it just so happened I was listening to Katie Woolf on 104.9. That is how I was informed. They are keeping Territorians in the dark and not telling them everything. They call that being open, honest and transparent. It is not and it does not pass the pub test or the requirements of this parliament functioning democratically, fairly and in the best interest of the Territory. In 2016 when this government came to power, they sat on a perchthe higher moral groundand told us how they would be different from the former CLP government. You look differentdifferent faces, frocks, outfits and personalitiesbut you are operating and behaving exactly the same. There is no difference. The arrogance is still there. It has a different face and flavour, but arrogance is arrogance whether it is in a frock or a suit. I find that extremely disappointing. When we talk about this bill before parliamentwhich is the last thing today; we could not spend two minutes presenting a couple of petitions because the focus had to be on the urgency of this legislation and we could not possibly have Question Time because the government could be scrutinised there, too. The government could be asked questions about how much it costs, how Territorians can pay and what the future holds. Reasonable questions may have been asked of the government regarding what we are looking at and what the future of the Territory looks like. Obviously the government does not have any answers; it is actively avoiding scrutiny and being asked questions it does not want to, or cannot, answer. We talked a lot today about the fact you are not meeting the requirements of a government. How this parliament is functioning today is not meeting the requirements of how a parliament should function. We are meant to be a democracy. We are meant to use this time and opportunity to ask questions, scrutinise government, provide information, analyse information and represent the interests of Territorians. Ms Nelson interjecting. Mrs LAMBLEY: The Member for Katherine is using the opportunity to say something over there. Do you think that this is democratic? Do you think this is a great way to function? As the Member for Spillett said before, We are happy to stay here all night. Ms Nelson interjecting.