The Leftist NSW government tries to escape scrutiny by closing down parliament: Fails
THESE are the four men who upheld democracy yesterday, defying Labor's attempt to gag their inquiry into the shambolic power sell-off. Even as Treasurer Eric Roozendaal finally admitted Parliament was closed early simply to scuttle their work, chairman Fred Nile, Liberal Greg Pearce, Green David Shoebridge and National Trevor Khan stood up to the Government's intimidation to begin proceedings.
The three Labor members, Luke Foley, Greg Donnelly and Kayee Griffin, boycotted the meeting as Premier Kristina Keneally tried to pass off the early proroguing of Parliament as normal procedure.
"Any scrutiny should not be done by a politically motivated committee," Mr Roozendaal said. "Some of the present members of the committee have already said publicly and in Hansard they object to the transaction process. "It has been prorogued early, it has been prorogued later [before past elections] but at the end of the day we have got to work in the interests of the people of NSW." [The interests of the people of NSW are served by secrecy? Typical Leftist thinking]
Mr Roozendaal wants the Auditor-General, who would not report until after the coming election, to examine the sale. He declined to say if he had advised the Premier to go to the Governor on Tuesday to have Parliament closed. Mr Roozendaal had unsuccessfully tried to convince Mr Nile that day to scrap the inquiry. Both he and Ms Keneally claimed an inquiry would be inappropriate until the power sale is finalised.
Mr Shoebridge said Ms Keneally had miscalculated when she had prorogued Parliament in a bid to halt the inquiry. He criticised the premier for claiming the inquiry would be illegal and witnesses, who will include eight board members who resigned last week, would not be covered by parliamentary privilege. "This entire process has blown up in the face of the Premier and the ALP Government, they're trying to avoid scrutiny," he said.
"The approach of the Premier and the Attorney-General suggesting the people who appear before this committee may be subject to defamation, may be subject to legal actions, couldn't be anything other than attempting to scare off witnesses so the whole story doesn't come out."
Mr Nile said he wanted to get to the truth and added: "I am very sorry the three Labor members, I assume on instruction from the Government, did not attend the meeting."