ACT Budget 2010: Dissent drenched Twilight Zone

With the Liberals launching into a full-scale attack on the Greens Labor agreement, the first sitting day since Budget week has started with some crazy space-age punches.

With the Liberals launching into a full-scale attack on the Greens Labor agreement, the first sitting day since Budget week has started with some crazy space-age punches.

The ACT Assembly Select Committee on Estimates, chaired by Greens’ Leader Meredith Hunter, today presented their report on the Appropriation Bill (read: Budget) 2010-2011.

This year it came in two volumes: the first is the actual report with 47 recommendations, the second is the Liberal’s dissenting report with 123 recommendations and the actual report is twice as long as the dissent.

Word on the street has it that the Liberal Party representatives on the committee dropped out of the Estimates report process after four days.

Today, calling the committee report a “white wash”, Opposition Leader Zed Seselja said the Greens were not scrutinising the Government as they should.

“I’d have thought it’d be the Greens who’d have the balance of power here, but apparently not.”

“This is a Greens-Labor alliance and this process demonstrated this, demonstrated this across the board.”

Hunter said a number of the recommendations in the dissenting report are the same as the ones in the actual report and that the dissenting report is badly referenced.

Liberal MLA and committee member Brendan Smyth said the committee report was a “patsy report”.

“It’s not a report. It’s a quick-reference guide,” Smyth said.

Whip and committee member Labor MLA John Hargreaves told the Liberals their heads were “full of cement” and called their dissenting report a policy statement and a “Booker Prize for fiction”.

Greens MLA and committee member Amanda Bresnan said the Liberals were wasting the time of politicans and public servants, pointing out that Liberal MLA Alistair Coe had demanded to know how many Government roundabouts there are in the ACT.

“Accountability is more than a newspaper headline,” Bresnan said. “Lines pulled for the sake of media attention.”

Bresnan said the Liberals had “literally refused to co-operate.”

Liberal MLA Vicki Dunne said the recommendations made by the committee report were “watered down”, pointing to those made on the issue of kinship carers – a group who denounced the Government’s policies during the first day of Estimates Public Hearings.

Greens MLA Caroline Le Couteur criticised the Liberals for not using the Estimates process to hold the Government up to scrutiny, instead submitting the dissenting report that they do not have to respond to.

“What the Liberal Party has done is ensure the Government doesn’t have to respond.”

“They oppose scrutiny.”

“They have not shown leadership. If they’re not the leader, they don’t want to be a part of it.”

Liberal MLA Steve Doszpot said the Greens should pay more attention to the Government and stop critically analysing the Opposition.

“Every Green that has spoken so far is attacking the Opposition.”

“But their job is to scrutinise the Government.”

“It’s like the Twilight Zone.”

And you know, he might have a point about the ACT Legislative Assembly being like the Twilight Zone…

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