I was no doubt not alone in being a little confused by Noel Towell’s story in the Canberra Times this morning on Brendan Smyth’s efforts to disallow the appointment of the Auditor-General Maxine Cooper.
There some hints that Noel had little understanding of disallowance. Putting the word disallow in inverted commas was one. Describing a fundamental check on the misuse of legislative instruments by the executive as “an arcane rule” was another.
The article makes it sound as if the disallowance is home and hosed:
A spokeswoman for the Chief Minister said the Government had already failed to secure Greens support for an attempt to bring the motion on and defeat it in the Assembly yesterday.
This would mean Dr Cooper was doomed as Auditor-General.
On asking around though I’ve had this from the Liberals who I asked if their issue was the process or Dr Cooper:
Brendan’s primary concern is the process and now part of that process is subject to a Privilege Committee inquiry.
The Greens had this to say:
We do not intend to support the Liberals on this.
The confusion is due to the way disallowances operate and the way our quotes look like we want Brendan to bring on a motion – which a reader might imagine means we support the motion – we don’t. But if no one brings on the motion in 4 sitting days then it takes effect, which is why we’re saying ‘bring it on Brendan, if you have any integrity’.
I expect that if the Libs don’t bring it on then Labor will on the Thursday of the November sitting and we’ll join them to defeat the Libs attempt to sack Max.