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Estimates: Question on Dorothy Dixers

During the estimates hearings on 7 December 2020, I asked Premier Palaszczuk if the government could ban Dorothy Dixers who waste the valuable time of the estimates hearings.

You can read the answer below or in the official Queensland Parliament Record of Proceedings (Hansard).

Mr BERKMAN: Putting on these estimates hearings is a really expensive process that takes up the incredibly valuable time of countless of our most senior of public servants. Is there any reason that the Premier's answers to government questions, or Dorothy Dixers as we know them, could not simply be tabled or published online ahead of these hearings to avoid wasting all of these good people’s time and unnecessarily using up time here in estimates for scrutiny?

Ms PALASZCZUK: I say to the member for Maiwar that the government members are just as important as the opposition and cross-bench members. Government members have a right to ask questions. The member for Hervey Bay has been asking questions relating to his area. The member for Macalister, likewise, has asked about what is happening in her electorate, and so has the member for Logan. This estimates process is not dissimilar to what is experienced in other states, even at the federal level. I think that it is actually a good system of democracy that we actually have this. It is an examination of the budget. There have been some very good questions about the budget today and some not so good questions where some people do not even want to talk about the budget. Is it any wonder they do not want to talk about the budget, because the people of Queensland backed in our strong health response and also backed in our strong economic recovery plan. That is what the people of Queensland voted for and that is why we have delivered this budget.

There was also a lot of talk before the election that there would not be a budget before the end of the year. I made a commitment that my government and the Treasurer, Cameron Dick, would deliver the budget and that we would have full estimates hearings before Christmas. I know this is a lot of hard work on people, but there was a time—and I know the opposition does not like hearing about it—when those opposite decided to condense the estimates hearings and have multiple hearings at once. This made it very difficult for nine members of the opposition to go to those hearings. As opposition leader, I endeavoured to get to as many of those hearings as I possibly could when we held multiple shadow portfolios. I know what hard work is all about.

I think that to have these estimates over and done with before Christmas allows people to get back to their communities, especially because I think we will see a wet season come and because we have been advised by the bureau that there is likely to be an increased number of cyclones and an increased monsoonal period. That is why my government has been getting briefings about the levels of dam storage at the moment right across the state, making sure that we have a good eye on that, making sure that our communities are prepared if there are cyclones. We need to be ready for that. I think people need to be back out in their communities from mid-December into January and February to make sure we are dealing with what will be a natural disaster period. This also allows people to spend some time with their families and friends.

Mr BERKMAN: I might ask a question about filibustering but I suspect my time has run out.

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