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Sir Laurence Street to decide on the release of the functional review

By johnboy 8 April 2009 38

[First filed: March 28, 2009 @ 10:18]

There’s no way that the functional review, should it ever be released, will live up to the expectation generated by the saga of its secrecy.

But it’s become the rope in a much needed tug-of-war between executive and parliament here in the ACT. It’s fascinating watching a quintessential round-head like Jon Stanhope playing the role of King Charles while the cavaliers of the Liberal party form up a New Model Army with the Greens.

The Canberra Times reports that in the next step in the battle the Former NSW Supreme Court chief justice (turned professional investigator/reviewer) Sir Laurence Street* has been appointed under the new transparency regime to be an independent arbiter and decide the matter.

Street’s got to be costing a pretty penny but even our Chiefly Leader will struggle to get on his high horse and dismiss the findings should they go against him.

UPDATED: The CT now reports that the fast moving Sir Laurence has found in favour of the executive. The reasons won’t be published until they can be tabled at the next sitting on 5 May.

ANOTHER UPDATE: His Chiefliness is being rather gracious in victory.

* In full that’s Sir Laurence Whistler Street AC, KCMG, QC, HFAIB, KStJ. If you’re unfamiliar with those old initials we’ve got a Companion of the Order of Australia, Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George, Queen’s Counsel, Honorary Fellow of the Australian Institute of Building, and Knight of the Order of St. John.

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38 Responses to
Sir Laurence Street to decide on the release of the functional review
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Woody Mann-Caruso 10:10 pm 17 Apr 09

Yes we understand there is parliamentary privelege and the like.

If you think it can be used in any way as a ‘defence against poor decisions’ then no, you really don’t understand at all. And it’s not ‘people’ who get cranky – it’s stupid people. Complaining about executive privilege is like complaining about gravity.

Special G 7:31 am 14 Apr 09

Not just a little condecending Woody. Yes we understand there is parliamentary privelege and the like. When it is used as a defence against poor decisions people get cranky. The transparency thing and all that.

People can speak up about decisions they don’t like and the process in that decision making. They don’t need someone like you telling them to f*$k off because they don’t like a process and speak up about it.

As for the City news – isn’t most of that just made up anyway.

Woody Mann-Caruso 12:07 am 14 Apr 09

I forgot to add – you conveniently clipped out the part where Rattenbury moved to appoint an independent legal arbiter. Well, that’s happened, and the arbiter told him where he could stick it. This brings us back to the same conversation I had earlier with my Egyptian friend, and I put the same challenge to you – if you think the arbiter is wrong and you’re right, make a valid legal case, or f.ck off.

Woody Mann-Caruso 11:59 pm 13 Apr 09

Go read the press release I’ve linked to however many times. It’s a Cabinet document. It has always been a Cabinet document. It was always going to be a Cabinet document. Privilege is assumed unless it’s expressly waived, and even then there are complications. The executive doesn’t need to claim it, and Rattenbury is a f.cking amateur if he thinks otherwise.

If you doubt me, go find yourself a document marked CABINET-IN-CONFIDENCE and hand it out in public. When they’re dragging your moron arse off to jail, claim that nobody explicitly told you that particular document was subject to executive privilege. Keep saying that while you’re biting your pillow and wishing about Kansas.

justin heywood 10:32 pm 13 Apr 09

From the CityNews
Stanhope sits tight on shock report
Published in News on 25 March, 2009

By Jorian Gardner
“CHIEF Minister Jon Stanhope is squaring up to challenge the will of the Assembly by stalling on making public the controversial “Costello report.

On February 12, the Assembly passed a resolution calling on the Chief Minister to table the controversial, but never publicly seen, 2006 report “Strategic and Functional Review of the ACT Public Sector and Services”….

…following lowing continuous correspondence from the Speaker’s office, on March 17 the Chief Minister wrote to Speaker Shane Rattenbury advising him that the Government was still formulating a response.

However, despite assuring Mr Rattenbury the “the Government is giving its response to the Assembly’s resolution due attention, and will provide a considered response shortly”, the Chief Minister has moved suddenly and without further consultation to have the report declared privileged and therefore beyond public gaze.

The Assembly’s new Standing Order requires that documents with no claim of privilege should be lodged with the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly, but where the Chief Minister considers a document to be privileged, a return is to be prepared giving details of the document and reasons for the claim of privilege.

“No one realistically envisaged it would take the Government this long to claim privilege,” Mr Rattenbury said.”
____________________________________________________________________________________

woody man, nowhere in the link you provided does Stanhope say the document would be priviliged. Either the journalist quoted above made the whole thing up or you are assuming that no-one would read the link. I think the latter. You are a tool.

smiling politely 3:02 pm 13 Apr 09

imhotep said :

Correct. And I would add:
e) post my opinion on a message board, as you do.

But of course. So which of these five options do you believe is the easiest course of action to take while also being the least likely to effect change? And in the absence of evidence to the contrary happens to be the one you appear to be putting your hopes in?

I am yet to see a single government decision or policy changed by the act of arguing on the internet, though I would appreciate being shown otherwise. Of course public discussion is important, but it needs to be accompanied by action in order to achieve the outcome sought. To ask whether I stayed silent during the Howard years is irrelevant.

Woody Mann-Caruso 2:51 pm 13 Apr 09

I love how you insist on your right to post critical, anonymous rants about whatever, but others should “just go away”, and if they stay, their anonymity makes their opinions worthless.

And could you try to keep your story straight? First you claim that Stanhope ‘stalled’ on making the report a Cabinet doc. Presented with hard evidence that it was a Cab doc from the get-go, you’ve now resorted to claiming he ‘stalled’ on releasing it (by linking to that bastion of hard journalism, the Sh.tty News) – of course, he didn’t have to stall, because he doesn’t have to release it and never intended to do so.

The fact is that the review’s status as a Cabinet document was public knowledge before the review was undertaken. You were just too slow to notice or to ignorant to know what that means.

Keep digging that hole, though – between the conspiracy theories, the insults, your inability to read a press release, your wandering story, your denigration of established democratic principles and now your hypocrisy about who can and can’t post here, you can’t be far from rock bottom.

imhotep 1:33 pm 13 Apr 09

smiling politely said :

(SP)”Governments make decisions that aren’t necessarily supported by hard data all the time. If you object to decisions like this, then you’re free to:
a) seek further appeal of the decision through higher courts (if available);
b) lobby the legislative assembly to change the current laws;
c) support an electoral candidate who supports your views; or
d) to seek election yourself on a platform of changing the policy in the name of achieving more open government decision-making processes.”

Correct. And I would add:
e) post my opinion on a message board, as you do. Did you keep silent during the Howard Years? He was democratically elected, but I seem to recall some criticism of his decisions. Public discussion is part of the democratic process.

Poor plebs like me can only go on what we read in the media. Perhaps the City News has the story wrong, but their lead on this story began with the phrase:

CHIEF Minister Jon Stanhope is squaring up to challenge the will of the Assembly by stalling on making public the controversial “Costello report”.
The rest of the story is linked below. Who do I believe? For all its faults, I’ll take the City News over anonymous bloggers. Please continue though. eom.

http://www.citynews.com.au/index.php/content/article/stanhope_sits_tight_on_shock_report/

smiling politely 12:54 pm 13 Apr 09

imhotep said :

And who decided, after some stalling, that the functional review was a ‘cabinet document’ and therefore privileged? Stanhope. Why? Because it is in the community’s interest to withhold the information? No, because the information would have been politically damaging.

As noted on the previous thread on this issue, the functional review was created specifically so that it could report to the Chief Minister and Cabinet. While I’m certain that the information in the review and the progress reports would have been terribly interesting, not to mention politically damaging for the current government, the fact is it falls under the ambit of an exempt document under the Territory’s FOI laws and we won’t get to see it. Street’s consideration supports this view.

Governments make decisions that aren’t necessarily supported by hard data all the time. If you object to decisions like this, then you’re free to:
a) seek further appeal of the decision through higher courts (if available);
b) lobby the legislative assembly to change the current laws;
c) support an electoral candidate who supports your views; or
d) to seek election yourself on a platform of changing the policy in the name of achieving more open government decision-making processes.

By all means maintain the rage, but perhaps it’s best to back it up with arguments a little more substantive than “I don’t like it/I disagree/the ACT’s turning into a dictatorship”.

Woody Mann-Caruso 12:52 pm 13 Apr 09

Stalling? It was announced that the review would be submitted to the Cabinet in the press release announcing the review way back in 2005, and in the terms of reference attached to that release.

As for the rest of your conspiracy theory, do you really think the government that closed schools and libraries and erected a statue of Al Grassby cares about what’s ‘politically damaging’? Oh, silly me – that just PROVES that the report is EVEN MORE DAMAGING THAN WE IMAGINED!11!fak3 m00n landing!11

You had your chance to overthrow the government at the last election. You lost. Again. Get over it already.

imhotep 11:31 am 13 Apr 09

(Clown Killer)“Stanhopes position is about principle – the principle that cabinet deliberations remain confidential. You can question the politics of whether or not it was appropriate for the Labor Government to make the functional review a cabinet document – which is a different matter all together…”

And who decided, after some stalling, that the functional review was a ‘cabinet document’ and therefore privileged? Stanhope. Why? Because it is in the community’s interest to withhold the information? No, because the information would have been politically damaging.

That is why I’m saying that Stanhope’s lofty claim that he is upholding the ‘Westminster System’ is so laughable. He has simply (and cynically) used its traditions as a shield to hide behind. Crass politics, as you say, but on both sides.

Clown Killer 8:18 am 13 Apr 09

imhotep, Stanhopes position is about principle – the principle that cabinet deliberations remain confidential. You can question the politics of whether or not it was appropriate for the Labor Government to make the funcional review a cabinet document – which is a diferent matter all together. For all the innefectual bleating of the Liberal party, they wouldn’t breach cabinet confidentiality either, and the greens are irrelevant.

Woody Mann-Caruso 6:57 am 13 Apr 09

Just go away you tedious little person.

Nope.

Enjoy living in our democracy! Or don’t and hate it. Whatever.

imhotep 12:41 am 13 Apr 09

vg said :

If you don’t like it there’s a fascist junta somewhere in the South Pacific for you.

A South Pacific junta. Would that be some tin-pot one party state where decisions are made in secret on the whim of a small cabal? Where the media are largely controlled by the party? Where you can take critics of the party or its leader to the high court in an attempt to have them dismissed? Where one set of rules apply for party cronies and another for the suffering citizens?

Sounds uncannily like the ACT, but with a better climate. You’re right vg, what am I doing here? Bon voyage!

vg 11:17 pm 12 Apr 09

A local government infrastructure policy that is subject to the principles of democracy and the Westminster system. If you don’t like it there’s a fascist junta somewhere in the South Pacific for you.

And I am far from Standope’s greatest fan

imhotep 9:57 pm 12 Apr 09

Just go away you tedious little person.

Woody Mann-Caruso 7:48 pm 12 Apr 09

Given your claimed CV, I wonder you stay here at all.

I’m sure you liked it much better when you could pretend to be an expert and nobody called your bluff. And I’m not angry – I’ve got no need to be, because smart people agree with me, not you, and things are happening the way I want. You’re the one shaking your tiny, impotent fists because you want to see the big boy reports too, mummy. Me, I just write them and read them.

Still waiting for you to explain why you’re right and Sir Laurence is wrong. Try to do it without getting sidetracked talking about me again. Your little crush is touching, but embarrassing.

imhotep 7:33 pm 12 Apr 09

Clown Killer said :

(CC)”There’s always a minority of fools who want to deliberately misunderstand the accepted principals of democracy in favor of the expedience of crass politics…in the meantime they can cry me a river”

So, Stanhope’s stand is about the principle, it’s just the Greens and the Libs playing ‘crass politics’? Yeah right!

I’m not crying about it. Cynical, yes, of both Stanhoope’s lofty posturing and the self-righteousness of those who support him in this.

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