Lack of an­swers adds to se­cret state claims

The Advertiser - - NEWS - ADAM LANGENBERG PO­LIT­I­CAL RE­PORTER

CLOSE to three quar­ters of ques­tions taken on no­tice by the State Gov­ern­ment in Par­lia­ment are go­ing unan­swered.

The Op­po­si­tion is so frus­trated it says it has given up ask­ing com­plex ques­tions.

Fig­ures com­piled by the Lib­er­als show the Gov­ern­ment pro­vided an­swers to 25 of the 91 par­lia­men­tary ques­tions taken on no­tice in 2017, a re­sponse rate of 27 per cent.

More than half of the 7246 ques­tions on no­tice since La­bor gained power in 2002 have yet to re­ceive an­swers.

A Gov­ern­ment spokesman said a record 1313 ques­tions were an­swered in Ques­tion Time this year, and many of the ques­tions on no­tice “re­late to mat­ters al­ready on the pub­lic record or ques­tions which have pre­vi­ously been an­swered”.

The an­swer rate is a dis­tinct im­prove­ment on 2016, where the Gov­ern­ment pro­vided an­swers to just four of the 111 ques­tions taken on no­tice.

But Op­po­si­tion trea­sury spokesman Rob Lu­cas said the low an­swer rate was, in ef­fect, an ex­tra layer of se­crecy.

“The re­al­ity is be­cause of their ap­palling record, peo­ple like my­self have given up on ask­ing ques­tions on no­tice be­cause we know they won’t get an­swered,” Mr Lu­cas said.

“There’s a clear drop off in ques­tions asked in the Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil over the last cou­ple of years.”

Mr Lu­cas said Pre­mier Jay Weather­ill had bro­ken his prom­ise to be more open and trans­par­ent by fail­ing to pro­vide an­swers to Par­lia­ment.

“Mr Weather­ill stands con­demned by his own record. The Gov­ern­ment are clearly des­per­ate to pre­vent em­bar­rass­ing in­for­ma­tion from be­com­ing pub­lic,” he said.

“For ex­am­ple, ques­tions asked of all min­is­ters about meet­ings con­ducted be­tween 2011 and 2014 with lob­by­ists reg­is­tered on the lob­by­ist reg­is­ter have been sim­ply ig­nored. “What has the Gov­ern­ment got to hide by re­fus­ing to an­swer these ques­tions?”

Mr Lu­cas re­newed the Lib­eral Party’s com­mit­ment to an­swer all ques­tions on no­tice in­side 30 days if it forms gov­ern­ment af­ter March’s state elec­tion.

Cur­rently there’s no re­quire­ment for min­is­ters to pro­vide an­swers to ques­tions taken on no­tice, but the Lib­eral pledge would bring South Aus­tralia in line with other states.

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