Lack of answers adds to secret state claims
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.