Greens slam Labor’s caretaker breaches

Greens leader Meredith Hunter.

ACT Greens have accused the Labor Government of breaching the “caretaker” convention by releasing policy documents during the pre-election period that have been prepared by the public service.

Greens leader Meredith Hunter says that since the pre-election caretaker period commenced on Friday September 14 there have been at least two significant policy announcements.

“If they are ALP election promises, they should be transparent and say so. If they are Government decisions, why are they being released one month out from the election and in apparent breach of the caretaker conventions?

“Take the Weathering the Change Action Plan released to the media today. In June 2011, the Minister said it would be released by the end of 2011. Now it is seeing the light of day nearly one year on during an election campaign and the Minister really needs to answer why he has sat on it so long.

“Another example is the release of the Tuggeranong Master Plan that announces 7800 extra dwellings for the area. The Government needs to be clearer about whether this is a Government announcement, or an ALP election promise.”

She quotes the Caretaker Convention, saying that at section 3  states:

“It is desirable that decisions be announced before the start of the caretaker period” and “If circumstances require the Government to make a major policy decision during the caretaker period that would potentially commit an incoming government, this should be done in consultation with the relevant opposition and cross-bench spokesperson.”

“The ALP has some questions to answer such as why have they waited until one month out from the election to release these public service reports”, she says.

“Without a clear answer they look like they are drip-feeding policy prepared by the public service for the political benefit of the ALP.”

But Attorney General Simon Corbell says policy announcements by the ACT Government are consistent with the guidelines set down for the caretaker period.

“The Government has announced a series of policy decisions which were agreed to by the Cabinet prior to the caretaker period commencing, these have included Action Plan 2 of the ACT Governments Climate Change Strategy, as well as two final master Plans for Tuggeranong and Erindale,” he says.



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