Answers To Questions Keeps South Australia In Suspense

Answers To Questions Keeps South Australia In Suspense

South Australia Shadow Treasurer Rob Lucas

Weatherill’s ‘Secret State’ Holds South Australians In Contempt

Victor P Taffa

Weatherill Labor Government’s contempt for democracy since being elected in 2002 is reflected by the fact a staggering 3,944 parliamentary questions have not been answered.

Shadow Treasurer Rob Lucas said the Weatherill Labor Government was arrogant and continued to refuse to answer important questions, and in some cases, took several years to provide responses which don’t even address the questions.

For example, a question from 2006 about a sharp increase in the number of child protection notifications and questions from 2007 on capital and recurrent expenditure underspending (or overspending) and the number of expulsions from public secondary schools for drug-related incidents have still not been answered.

“Since being elected in 2002, this Labor Government has an appalling record of dodging scrutiny and accountability.” Mr Lucas said.

 

The following table shows more than half (54.52%) of all questions have been unanswered.

                                      Total Questions          Answered       Unanswered               %Unanswered

House Of Assembly                4,450                         2,191               2,259                           50.79%

Legislative Council                 2,825                          1,140               1,685                          59.64%

Total                                            7,275                            3,331               3,944                          54.52%

 

“Premier Weatherill and the Labor Government are clearly anxious to prevent embarrassing information from becoming public, and seeking to minimise political damage by delaying answering questions.”

“On 9 November 2011, Premier Weatherill told Parliament:

“Certainly, all of the questions that will be asked of us will be given proper answers.. we will strive to give information to the House, as I always have.”

“This is clearly a broken promise by Premier Weatherill, who has been even more secretive than his predecessor Mike Rann.

“As former Premier Mike Rann said in his 2002 Plan for Honesty in Government, ‘a good Government does not fear scrutiny or openness.”

Unlike other states, the South Australian Parliament does not require Ministers to answer questions within a certain time period.

For example, New South Wales (35 calendar days), Victoria (30 calendar days), Queensland (30 calendar days) and Western Australia (1 calendar month) all have requirements under their Parliament’s standing orders.

A Marshall Liberal Government will introduce changes to Parliamentary Standing Orders to ensure questions on notice receive answers within 30 days.