Ms O'CONNOR question to PREMIER, Mr HODGMAN
Last week in Estimates, your Treasurer took secrecy to a new low. He refused to tell the budget Estimates Committee who is on the Expenditure Review Committee of Cabinet. This is a complete departure from past practice, even under your opaque government. Why is your Treasurer trying to keep secret the membership of the Expenditure Review Committee? Is it because there are no women at the table when you decide which services to underfund and which roads to build? Who is on your razor gang?
Madam Speaker, I thank the member for making that point again, as she did in the debate yesterday, and I responded to it. She has referenced the Treasurer's response to it. The membership of this committee and any recommendations that it makes will be endorsed, or not, by this Government; by its Cabinet, and by this Government.
Ms O'Connor - Why can't you just tell us who is on the ERC?
Mr Bacon - Why is it so secret?
Madam SPEAKER - Order, Ms O'Connor and Mr Bacon.
Mr HODGMAN - We will accept responsibility collectively. This is another example of opposition parties being more worried about political games. They are not interested in our savings measures, our efficiency dividends -
Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order, Madam Speaker. I take personal offence at that statement by the Premier to imply that when we ask for transparency around the decision-making bodies in Cabinet, it is somehow political and not about accountability. I find that personally offensive because it is untrue. Who is on the ERC?
Madam SPEAKER - Premier, would you like to address that?
Mr HODGMAN - If she is so wounded by that I certainly withdraw it. When the question itself asks who is on the so-called 'razor gang', it makes the case that this is all about -
Ms O'Connor - It has always been known as the 'razor gang'. Who is on that ERC?
Mr HODGMAN - personal politics. This is all about individuals, it is the same thing that we have had this morning from your colleague, Ms White. It is all about individuals. This is where we stand apart from those members opposite. We are a strong team, we back each other -
Mr HODGMAN - and the loudest laugh comes from the man who is doing all he can to undermine his leader, including gatecrashing a media conference the other day.
Madam SPEAKER - Order. The House has come into a bit of an uproar and it is most unparliamentary. We have to remember the dignity of the House at all times. I ask you to all be a little reflective on your behaviour. Thank you.
Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order, Madam Speaker. I wanted to point out to the Premier who is failing to answer the question so standing order 45, relevance. Yesterday we had answers to questions on notice that talked about the State Growth Subcommittee of Cabinet so we know who they are, but this Premier will not tell us who is on the Expenditure Review Committee. I ask you to draw his attention to a very straightforward question of transparency.
Madam SPEAKER - Thank you very much. It is not a point of order; I have allowed it to be recorded on Hansard and I am sure the Premier understood what you were saying.
Mr HODGMAN - The point that is important is that we have to make savings; we have to be as efficient as we can as a government. We need to keep our budget in surplus as our insurance policy, and we need to have our budget in good shape so that we can invest more into the things that people really care about - housing, education, health, infrastructure.
The Leader of the Greens is more worried about who is on a Cabinet subcommittee than why it is necessary for us to our budget in good shape so we can invest more into what Tasmanians care about, into housing, into health, into education, into infrastructure, and into keeping the cost of living pressures down. It is your priorities that are warped.
Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order, standing order 45, Madam Speaker, the Premier has not even attempted to answer the question. It is a straightforward question. Never before has a government tried to keep secret membership of the Expenditure Review Committee.
Madam SPEAKER - I have to rule that is not a point of order. Somehow or other protocol along the years has allowed for this situation to occur. I cannot dictate to the Premier what will come out of his mouth.
Mr HODGMAN - The member for Clark characterised the committee as a razor gang. It is not a razor gang.
Ms O'Connor - Even your own public servants call it the razor gang.
Mr HODGMAN - It is a committee that will work with agencies to identify savings to keep our Budget -
Ms O'Connor - Everyone calls it the razor gang.
Madam SPEAKER - Ms O'Connor, warning number two.
Mr HODGMAN - in good shape to invest more into essential services. Where we can do so those decisions will be made by my entire Cabinet with the support of this strong, unified, majority Government.