Freyla Ferguson reports from Question Time at the Assembly
IT was Katy Gallagher’s first sitting in parliament as Chief Minister and the ACT Liberals were not going to let her forget her past record as Minister for Health and Education.
“I don’t think it’s been since 2008 that the Chief Minister has received quite the attention that I’m receiving,” she said with sarcasm.
“The Deputy Chief Minister in previous sittings is used to this type of attention.
“The Opposition have moved from the Deputy Chief Minister to the Chief Minister, hmm.. honestly I don’t know what to do with myself with all these questions.”
Opposition Leader Zed Seselja and the entire Opposition questioned Gallagher on past promises in health and education, particularly focusing on waiting list times and the apparent lack of transparency on reporting –including the latest on bullying in the Canberra Hospital.
However the Chief Minister claimed the “reporting that you get in the Health area now, since 2001 is much more comprehensive”.
ACT Greens Housing spokesperson Amanda Bresnan wanted answers from Community Services Minister Joy Burch in regards to her media comments criticising the ACT Greens policy of increasing public housing to 30 per cent in 10 years.
However Burch appeared to clear the public gallery of almost all visitors (admittedly most of them appeared to be on bus tour) with her response to the questions, which also saw her fellow party members obviously disinterested in the topic as they chatted and laughed among themselves.
Parliament started to take notice when Burch appeared to liven up;
“Ms Bresnan, you can sit there with that little twist in your face, that little twink in your eye”
“Twink”? We’ve never heard that one before.
But as she talked around a response, she did promise to table the figures she quoted to the media.
The Government’s newly sworn-in MLA, Dr Chris Bourke asked his first question – directed to Education Minister Andrew Barr on public education.
Before responding, Barr thanked Dr Bourke for the question and said: “Dr Bourke has now asked nearly as many questions as the Shadow Minister for Education this year.”