ACT QT: Burch vs Dunne

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#ACTQT was a hotbed of Gumnuts today with the Liberals drawing back from their assault on Gallagher and throwing everything they had at Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services and Children and Young People, Joy Burch.

Child care. It’s all the rage apparently. Certainly it’s all anyone wanted to talk about today, particularly Vicki Dunne who Liberal-boy outsourced her regular community and family centred questions directed at Burch.

This is probably because the gallery was full of community workers, hosted earlier in reception by Burch in celebration of their new portable long-service leave.

Burch took every opportunity to point the workers out when answering her questions, particularly those relating to consultation.

Clearly she has consulted them because they are here. Right?

While the majority of the Opposition’s questions merely resulted in more batting around the bush with Burch, their structure got really interesting at one point with the Liberals linking the issue of Change of Use Charges to the development of child care centres.

Burch couldn’t take it very far, of course, because she’s not the Minister for Planning or the Treasurer, but it was fun to watch the dots being connected.

Labor Whip John Hargreaves threw her a Dixer over long-service leave, which would have been business as usual had Liberal MLA Jeremy Hanson not made some cracks about sobriety.

“Long lunch, Hargreaves?” Hanson asked.

“Mr Hanson is such a little man,” Hargreaves said, “Grow up!”

Speaker Shane Rattenbury told Hargreaves to sit down, while the chamber exploded into verbal abuse on all sides.

“I’m sick of these people,” Hargreaves said withdrawing his comments out of respect to the Speaker, “But I won’t give Mr Hanson any respect.”

This was an early warning signal that things were about to get down and dirty in #ACTQT and, after Burch waxed lyrical about long-service leave, Heargreaves and Chief Minister Jon Stanhope brought out the steak knives.

Hargreaves called the Oppositon “the Balaclava-wearing rabble, sons and daughters of Peter Reith.”

The Liberals lost it.

“Mr Hanson’s constant interjections undermine the integrity of Mr Hargreaves,” Stanhope said calling the Opposition Spokesman for Health a “low, slimy unparliamentary guttersnipe”.

“This is entirely unbecoming behaviour,” the Speaker said, calling them all to calm down and issuing warnings.

Dunne demanded an apology over the balaclava comments, which she got.

The rest of the time was spent listening to Burch being grilled over child care places, promises to increase child care places and assistance given to the new centre at Flynn.

Oh, yeah, and the Greens asked Andrew Barr some stuff about Naplan and MySchool, but since he’s not a Commonwealth Minister he doesn’t really have a whole lot of control over those issues.

Best slip up of the day Joy Burch “cumnuts” no wait that was “Gumnuts”… as in the child care provider.

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