Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens Leader
Question Time this week has reached all new lows with close to half of the time allegedly reserved for scrutinising government Ministers taken up with self-congratulatory Dorothy Dixer questions.
Not content with awarding themselves four free-kick questions every day, the Liberals are extending their answers to shut down real questions from opposition parties. MPs – and Tasmanians – had to suffer through six, seven and on occasion, eight, minute answers from Ministers to backbenchers.
This is not what Question Time should be about. It is intended to be a time when Ministers are held to account, and required to explain how they propose to resolve some of the serious issues faced by the State – like the health crisis, the trading away of public lands and Tasmania’s future security.
State Parliament only sits for 14 weeks a year, and opposition parties are only allotted a certain number of questions each day to hold the government to account. For backbenchers and warbling Ministers to take up half the time is an affront to Westminster principles and an insult to the people of Tasmania.
We are all elected to serve the Tasmanian people but that’s not what we have seen in Question Time this week.
The Liberals’ strategy to breathe deep and read out their now extended, hollow speeches shows a contempt for not only the democratic system that elected them to Parliament in the first place, but the people they claim to serve.