Senate Estimates - Highlights from Day Two: 12 February 2013

The second day of Senate Estimates has revealed even more Labor waste and mismanagement.

Super delay for Super Clinics

Departmental records provided in the lead-up to Senate Estimates reveal that seven of the GP Super Clinics promised by Kevin Rudd in the 2007 election have still not begun operations and four others pledged in 2010 do not even have funding agreements.

Proving yet again that Labor are poor managers and you can’t believe their promises, of the 64 Super Clinics promised two have been scrapped, three needed substantial additional funding and at least 21 are not even under construction.

Labor’s strange priorities on cattle

While the Australian cattle industry is on its knees caused by Labor’s live export ban, the Gillard Government is using taxpayers’ money to support Indonesian cattle producers.

Senate Estimates has heard that the Government has allocated $20 million to help the Indonesian cattle industry increase its productivity but only $12.7 million to compensate Australian cattle producers for the devastation caused by Labor’s live export ban.

Postponing the inevitable

Senate Estimates has uncovered a tricky Government plan to delay releasing the latest monthly financial statements in order to dodge parliamentary scrutiny of the current state of the books.

The monthly financial statements for November and December have been sitting on Finance Minister Wong’s desk since 18 January and 7 February respectively but won’t be released until this Friday, after Parliament rises.

So much for Ms Gillard’s promise to “draw back the curtains and let the sun shine in; (to) let our Parliament be more open than it ever was before”.

Labor’s whiteboard at work again

Senate Estimates has heard that documents used by the Department of Climate Change to decide which projects should receive $20 million in grants to promote the Carbon Tax have been destroyed,

This made it impossible for the Audit Office to assess whether the most meritorious projects were selected, or to determine the ranking of the unsuccessful applicants.

We feel sure that it was pure coincidence that two of the successful projects, worth more than $1.5 million, just happened to be from the Minister for Climate Change (Mr Combet’s) own region.

Your ABC - Arbiter of factual correctness

The ABC has been giving additional funding to set up a “fact-checking” unit. 

Surprisingly, the unit will not check the correctness of ABC’s own output but, instead, will produce “a basic set of agreed facts” on issues such as climate change and tax policy.

The ABC claims this will allow it to ‘understand and interpret … comments and statements” being made about such issues.  .

It will be interesting to see how the ABC distinguishes between ‘facts’, ‘claims’, ‘projections’ and so on, who it gets to staff its new unit, and how it treats those who presume to have a different view to Aunty’s.

In brief…

In further revelations Estimates has heard that:

  • For the first time in a decade there have been no Customs vessels patrolling illegal fishing or whaling in the Southern Ocean during the last year.
  • The Government has rejected requests from anglers and commercial fishers affected by the Queensland floods to extend the 30 day consultation period into the Government’s plan to lock up 2.3 million square kilometres in new marine parks have been rejected.
  • The Civil Aviation Authority is spending about $50,000 a year on office greenery
  • The Disability Discrimination Commissioner confirmed that he had resigned from Transport Minister Albanese’s Aviation Access Working Group charged with improving access for people with disability because there had been “much talking … but little else”.

About Eric

Eric Abetz has been a Liberal Senator for Tasmania since 1994 and has served in a range of Leadership, Ministerial and Shadow Ministerial roles.

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