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Debates and Questions - Day 3 - 6 May 2021



Debates and Questions - Day 3 - 6 May 2021

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Parliamentary Record 6


Debates and Questions for 14th Assembly 2020 -; Parliamentary Record; ParliamentNT; 14th Assembly 2020 -






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Debates and Questions

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Debates and Questions Thursday 6 May 2021 Meeting No 19 1491 Like with all things that Natasha the Slasher does, there is always a hidden gem buried deep somewhere in these motions that pop up out of nowhere. The hidden gem from the Gunner Labor government today is the fact that they are slashing the number of opposition members available to take part in the estimates process, which is a disgrace. What is most interesting about this sly manoeuvre to avoid scrutiny and transparency is that the reason they are doing this is a direct consequence of their own Labor cocaine sex scandal when they exiled the Member for Blain to the crossbench. Is he really on the crossbench? We still do not know. He sits up very cosily next to them on that side of the House. Their deep-seated insecurity about losing control and power is coming home to roost. Let me give you a bit of a history lesson. The Estimates Committee is a process for the opposition and the crossbench; it is not a process for you. It is a process of this parliament Mr Kirby: Let us just put the motion. Mrs FINOCCHIARO: Is that a smart alec comment? I pick up on the interjection from the Member for Port Darwin. You can laugh and jeer all you want; this motion shows how truly pathetic you are. If you go back in history, estimates was always made Ms FYLES: A point of order, Madam Speaker! Standing Order 38; relevance. I personally love history, but I do not need the Leader of the Opposition to rewrite it. She was a part of the CLP governmentshe was a minister, but she prefers to forget that. We are debating a motion, not talking about history. Madam SPEAKER: It is not a point of order. Opposition Leader, you still have 28 minutes to contribute to the debate. Mrs FINOCCHIARO: Fantastic; I am just getting started. Let me take members of this parliament backfor the children in the gallery, history is important despite what Labor will have you think. Traditionally, as has always been the case, the Estimates Committeeand basically every other committee of our parliamentis three government members, with the Chair having the casting vote; two opposition members; and one Independent member. That gives opportunity. It is not a perfect model because it is government-controlled, but coming from a clear need for government to have total control in the dictatorship that takes place on this side, three government members is ample to control a committee; they have the casting vote. The opposition only has two members. The Independent members, of which there are four, have to work out amongst themselves how to fill their one position. It is difficult to be a non-government member on a committee as it is; government always has the power. This government became so insecure about the strength of the opposition and the crossbench in this term of government that last year it decided to put four of its members on the Estimates Committee, with two opposition members and one Independent member. I do not know what on earth they needed that extra number for, but they were so terrified of us they wanted to slip that in. The Member for Blain has been exiled from the Labor Caucus due to the Labor cocaine sex scandal, so they are down a number. They only have three backbenchers now, and they are freaking out. They are terrified they will somehow lose control of the estimates process, which is not a process for them anyway. It is a process for Territorians and for us to scrutinise the government. The government is supposed to sit there and answer questions for hours and hoursquestions we put to them, which we create and which Territorians give usnot orchestrate and control a perfect little situation behind the scenes, which they believe is happening. I ask the government, what is it that you are so terrified of? To cut us down to one member is an erosion of democracy, scrutiny and transparency. If you had left it how it was, you would have three government members, two opposition members and one Independent member; you still have total power and control over the Estimates Committee. There are no reasons for you to cut us down other than spite, fear, power, arrogance and control. There is legitimately no reason other than just because you can, and that is disgusting. Power can go to the head and it has clearly gone to the heads of each and every one of you. Just because you can do something when you have power does not mean you should. It is appalling that you would erode an opportunity for the opposition