The Legislative Assembly’s six-member estimates committee has released a report about this year’s budget which Markus Mannehim describes as “damning”.
The committee is made of three government members (chair Mary Porter, Mick Gentleman and Karin MacDonald), two Liberals (Brendan Smyth and Steve Pratt) and Green Deb Foskey. This deadlock meant they couldn’t reach an agreement on whether to support or reject the passing of budget.
What the report did contain was 73 recommendations, mainly critical. These included reversing the decision to cut superannuation for new public servants, reinstating the independent public health agency Healthpact and returning the Office of Sustainability to its former place in the Chief Minister’s Department.
The committee also complained about the “unhelpful” attitudes of Government MLAs, singling out front bencher John Hargreaves. Apparently the minister told Mr Pratt he had won “the dickhead comment of the week award” at one of the committee’s public hearings.
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The non-Government committee members also complained about Mick Gentleman’s behaviour at a meeting last week where he allegedly swore at Dr Foskey, the two Liberals and fellow ALP member Mary Porter.
Dr Foskey said the outburst had “visibly shaken” Ms Porter and Mr Smyth called it “appalling behaviour and … offensive language”. A spokeswoman for Mr Gentleman denied (to the CT) the abuse claims.