16 August 2006

ACT Estimates committee causes trouble

| Kerces
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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.

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.

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Are these really the best the ACT can do??
Bring back Roslyn Dundas and the previous green MLA (I’ve forgotten her name already).

It is pathetic that a “spokeswoman” says Gentleman didn’t abuse anyone. Mary Porter spent that weekend after that Friday estimates fiasco telling people about her colleagues complete flip out. His language and behaviour towards those who were present is scandalous. The Liberals and Dr Foskey confirm that Gentlemen acted like a pig. Sending an email 3-4 days later saying sorry isn’t good enough. We do not need a thick bovver boot union bully on the public payroll. The ALP ought to be embarrassed by this behaviour and should give Gentlemen the flick. This is yet another test of Stanhope’s leadership – and once again nothing has been done. MacDonald disappears mid week – under very dubious circumstances- nothing is done. Ministers vote against Cabinet positions on schools closure – nothing is done. Very Beazley like leadership Jon (read weak). We await your next diversionary attack on Howard and his minions.

It’s not really surprising that the 73 recommendations were “mostly critical”, is it? I mean, a recommendation like “that’s good, keep doing that” is a bit redundant, isn’t it?

What the Canberra Times report failed to indicate is that Karin MacDonald had left Canberra mid week – not for New Zealand for a parliamenatry matter – but for Brisbane. She opted not to be there for 3 key working days as they attempted to finalise their work. She actually flew to NZ on the weekend. Seems her colleagues were not really aware of her travel plans. She had to come back for the Monday estimates meeting, at her own expense. That is because no pair was granted by the Opposition (it isn’t the practice to do that for estimates committees). It is a bit rich for Jon Stanhope to throw that in the face of the non Labor committee represenatives and call it a stunt. I understand staff at the Assembly are furious with the behaviour of a number of Stanhope’s team on estimates. Mary Porter has conducted herself with dignity. Gentlemen’s language and performance were appalling. He does not deserve to remain an MLA. Assembly staff – let alone MLAs – know that all too well.

At least our MLA’s are well qualified to judge “dickhead of the week”. In fact, I’d guess its a 17 way tie most weeks.

Hargreaves has a swearing problem it seems. He offended people by swearing all through his speech at the multicultural festival. Is he another ex footballer?

James-T-Kirk3:25 pm 16 Aug 06

Looks like the children at play, as usual. Nothing new about that.

The only bit that is sad, was that the “Sun ripened warm tomato party” was not represented.

Even then, Hargreaves doesn’t necessarily qualify, unless the comment was something like “I’m perfectly fine to drive, officer … bleaaaargh (copious amounts of vomit all over the officer’s trousers)”.

Presumably not the week Hargreaves was shamed into exile. Hic!

“the dickhead comment of the week award”

He wins it so often the real question is which week was hargreaves referring?

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