The Senate Chamber primary colour is red (see above), even the daily running sheet is called the ‘Dynamic Red’ and considering the Senate is the ‘House of review’, red would seem quite appropriate. If the RRAT Committee Senators have an ounce of respect for the Senate, the Senate Estimates process & the importance of making sure the bureaucracy remains accountable & transparent, then they should being seeing RED for the complete disdain the DoIRD Mandarin & his Minions continue to display for the Senate Estimates & indeed Parliamentary process.
Hansard excerpts May 2013 Budget Estimates:
Senator HEFFERNAN: Welcome, Mr Mrdak. I would just like to emphasise the disruption and the unfairness demonstrated—not necessarily by the department—on questions on notice. They came back, and I have no idea how long they were in the minister’s office, and were received by this committee on Friday at two or three o’clock in the afternoon. Religiously and with great precision DAFF have their questions back on the given day, and we commended Minister Ludwig yesterday for that. But sadly the questions on notice from Minister Albanese’s office are always late. It is unfair to the committee and, as a consequence of the late afternoon on Friday, the hardworking people in the secretariat had to work on Friday night and Saturday just to process the questions. I think that is most unreasonable. There is no strategic reason. Bugger it—the questions and the answers are the questions and the answers, and if they are on paper we ought to be entitled to see them in time to get our head around them. They can often be important issues—and I am sure that Senator Fawcett is about to raise important issues—that we need to thoroughly process in the best interests of the Australian public…
…Mr Mrdak: I very much acknowledge the point raised by Senator Heffernan on the tabling of the answers by the portfolio. Again, my apologies, Senator. The department makes every effort to meet the time frame set by the committee; I can assure you of that. We do apologise in relation to the timing of the provision of those answers.
Senator IAN MACDONALD: Can you tell us when the answers were submitted by you to the minister’s office?
Mr Mrdak: There were 132 questions in total, 40 taken on notice on the hearing day and 92 written questions. The department did not this time meet our requirements to get the advice to the minister as we would have liked. The first 100 draft responses were provided to the minister on 28 March. The further 32 outstanding responses were provided on 8 and 18 April, owing to some delays in getting data from us. But the minister had all of the consolidated answers by 18 April.
Senator IAN MACDONALD: Senator Thistlethwaite, do you have any indication of why it took the minister from 18 April until last Friday to deal with those things?
Senator Thistlethwaite: No, I do not, Senator. Again, I can seek to take that on notice and provide you with an answer.
Senator IAN MACDONALD: It would be good if you could.
Senator NASH: Can I suggest that perhaps the good senator might like to do that over the next two days for us? I am sure he is able to call the minister’s office and come back to us before the end of tomorrow.
Senator Thistlethwaite: I already indicated that I would.
Senator NASH: Thank you.
And this was the ‘up yours’ answer to the QON:
Senator IAN MACDONALD: Senator Thistlethwaite, do you have any indication of why it took the minister from 18 April until last Friday to deal with those things?Senator Thistlethwaite: No, I do not, Senator. Again, I can seek to take that on notice and provide you with an answer.Senator IAN MACDONALD: It would be good if you could.Senator NASH: Can I suggest that perhaps the good senator might like to do that over the next two days for us? I am sure he is able to call the minister’s office and come back to us before the end of tomorrow.
Senator Thistlethwaite: I already indicated that I would.
The then Minister advised that he had nothing further to add to this response.
The following is a link for the subsequent 2013 Budget Estimates process in the lead up to the 2013 Supplementary Estimates – DoIT 2013 AQON. You can see that the due date was 26 July 2013 and that all the AQON were received nearly four months late on the 10 October 2013. Now compare that to this year (in red):
Questions on notice index: (PDF 805 KB)
Answers were due 10 July 2015.
Answers to Questions on Notice
(PDF 52 KB)
Infrastructure Investment Division
(PDF 2565 KB)
Australian Rail Track Corporation
(PDF 74 KB)
(PDF 309 KB)
Civil Aviation Safety Authority
(PDF 203 KB)
Australian Transport Safety Bureau
(PDF 59 KB)
(PDF 1118 KB)
Aviation and Airports Division
(PDF 9588 KB)
Office of Transport Security
(PDF 20 KB)
Australian Maritime Safety Authority
(PDF 222 KB)
Surface Transport Policy Division
(PDF 2649 KB)
Local Government and Territories Division
(PDF 49 KB)
National Capital Authority
(PDF 48 KB)
Policy and Research Division
Western Sydney Unit
(PDF 32 KB)
Read them, weep & wonder WTF the hold up was – UFB? Nope true to form for Murky & his minions..
As a point of comparison have a look here for the RRAT committee’s stable-mate the Department of Agriculture, where the AQON were only 12 days late. Plenty of time for Senators and their staff to assess & follow up on the answers prior to the Supp Estimates; or indeed in the Senate Chamber sitting days; or through written QON directly to the Minister.
However with the situation we have now with Murky’s Department, the impact of the QON has been made null & void, unless of course the Senators already know the answers.
Taking the example with the Dolan ‘up yours’ AQON to Senator X..
The ATSB does not intend taking any further action on this matter, noting that an ATSB air traffic control specialist did review the WebTrak information for the entire period following receipt of the REPCON and that the ATSB is satisfied with the response provided by both Airservices Australia and CASA to the REPCON report (see http://www.atsb.gov.au/repcon/2013/ar201300090.aspx).
..you can see that yet again more than 5 months has now been lost and the impact of now calling Dolan to account – on a serious incident that occurred nearly 2 years ago – becomes laughable, even if (as Gobbles points out) the safety issue is yet to be effectively risk mitigated –
So will team RED (the Senators) call Murky & his fellow obfuscating minions to account? Well I bloody well hope so, because to do anything less calls into question the worth & veracity of the RED House, the so called House of review –