Higgins comments on McConnell's candour


p2239-Gary-Higgins-2By ERWIN CHLANDA

Opposition Leader Gary Higgins (pictured) has described as “extraordinary” the candour of Labor MLA Scott McConnell in his call for more government transparency.
“Dissatisfaction with the Gunner Government’s promised lack of consultation has spread to its Parliamentary members,” says Mr Higgins in a media statement this morning.
“Stuart MLA Scott McConnell’s extraordinary interview with the Alice Springs News shows the Government has not lived up to its promise to consult with Territorians.
“This is an entirely different Government to the one Michael Gunner said he would deliver during the election campaign.”
Mr Higgins says Mr McConnell’s key criticisms include:-

  • Minimal back-bencher involvement in decision-making.
  • The “Fifth Floor” failing to communicate with Caucus.
  • Failure to focus on regions.
  • Too many “Assistant Ministries”.

“The few big decisions the Gunner Government has made have been cloaked in secrecy and have been dumped on Territorians without transparency of consultation,” Mr Higgins says.
“The part-public holidays plan was hatched in a secret deal with the unions, the Dan Murphy’s ban was sneaked into the Government Gazette, the Alice Springs police station closure was announced by the media and the broken promise to deliver a PET scanner with cyclotron was revealed by Senator Scullion.
“The Labor hierarchy must not punish the Member for Stuart for publicly expressing his anger at the Government because he is just reflecting growing community concerns at this Government.
“As the local member it is good that Scott McConnell has spoken out and maybe we will now see more back-bencher involvement in Parliamentary and community debates, where they appear to have been gagged by the Government.”


  1. “This is an entirely different Government to the one Michael Gunner said he would deliver during the election campaign.”
    We should all know that election promises are like New Year resolutions, but bigger, and often are abandoned once in office.
    Famous Australian promises:
    • Prime Minister Bob Hawke, in 1987, said that “by 1990 no Australian child will be living in poverty”.
    • Prime Minister John Howard in 1995 said that the GST would “never ever” be part of Liberal policy.
    • Prime Minister Julia Gillard: “There will be no carbon tax under a government I lead, let’s be absolutely clear.”
    We should have a system in place by which any elected member who without very good reason given to the public, should automatically be dismissed [if a promise is breached].
    After all we are their employers and in business, a bad, untrustworthy worker gets the sack.

  2. @ Evelyne Roullet, Posted January 19, 2017 at 11:48 am: This is a really good idea. Elections are like job interviews, and if an employee is shown to lie during a job interview, this automatically becomes grounds for dismissal.
    And another thing. If a member of any parliament quits the party used to gain his/her seat to join a different party, this should trigger a by-election.
    We have to start making politicians accountable for what they say and put an end to their sense of immunity and their pervasive mendacity.

  3. As when Labor won with Clare Martin, no-one knew what to do. So the people elected to government were puppets to senior bureaucrats, their media department and advisers.
    My question is this: If no one knows how to lead, why did they campaign so hard?
    As Scott has now informed us, the Labor Party is in Groundhog Day mode and moving nowhere fast. Yes, I am a CLP voter, and yes, the last lot were a disaster, and yet Alice Springs prospered well from infrastructure spend and the Territory suffered from bad decisions by a Chief Minister who believed he controlled everything and lacked understanding of how businesses operate.
    And yet here we are, not six months in, and Labor are still trying to work out what to do and who will lead with ideas.
    Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Universe – take two in the Territory.

  4. Only people who believed Prime Minister Bob Hawke’s 1987 promise to eliminate child poverty were those who knew little about poverty. High incomers can remain in poverty by wasting their incomes.
    Prime Minister John Howard had courage and went to election so received mandate for GST legislation.
    Effectiveness of GST was reduced with exemptions to please minority preferences.
    Current politicians ignore GST gaps, ignore expenditure wastage, talk of raising GST rates in preference to addressing fixable GST gaps and fixable expenditure wastage.
    Clearly these are left to braver legislators.
    The process of good government requires politicians to negotiate and achieve passing of reasonable legislation.
    Good legislating is not a winner takes all game.
    Who of sound mind commits and signs blank cheques or contracts before terms and conditions inked, read, and considered?
    IMHO legislators who fail to require legislation to be tabled, considered, then debated with enough time for public consideration and feedback they fail to perform their representative jobs properly.


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