Watching the Senate Estimates today, I’ve been amused by the antics. Lining up all the Senators, the Minister, public servants and parliamentary staff must cost a bomb per hour, so you’d hope the time was spent wisely. Sadly, no.
My observations — in between other work, so this isn’t representative:
- Senator Stephen Conroy’s little joke of re-reading the PM’s statement about pay restraint whenever anyone asked about executive salaries wore thin. Please, just have the spine to say, “No, I won’t be making a separate statement.”
- Senator Simon Birmingham wasted time asking the head of SBS questions whose answers could have easily been found on their website or in their annual report. Maybe you should organise a coffee with him or a staff member to catch up on these basics.
- Senator Eric Abetz had a detailed list of quite specific questions for Australia Post. It’s precisely this kind of forensic examination which gives Senate Estimates such importance to our democracy.
- Senator David Johnstone was… no, he gets more than a bullet point!
Senator Johnstone was angry that when the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) awarded two new community radio licenses in Perth last month, one long-running “aspirant” (license applicant) called Western Sports Media wasn’t a winner.
Apparently some cricket fans were upset. However Senator Johnstone tackled the ACMA representatives with what I thought was inappropriate aggression — particularly as he obviously wasn’t across the details. I therefore fired off an email…