AN APPEAL for the Auditor-General to run through the books to investigate into times of transactions of a discount online retail scheme is the latest part of the ACT opposition’s sustained attack on the government.
Questions were thrown at Minister for Business Tara Cheyne over impropriety of the Choose CBR scheme following allegations of misappropriation of funds between multiple Canberra businesses.
Every one of the nine Canberra Liberals party members each asked Ms Cheyne at least one question amid an orchestrated move from the opposition on Tuesday (June 22) in the first day back of the Legislative Assembly since the irregularities were found.
Sources to the Liberals observed that the vouchers were claimed “en masse” from midnight to 6am on June 18 and 19.
Ms Cheyne admitted the swamping of the CBR website exhausted the vouchers far quicker than the government that financially underwrote the $2.1 million promotion had possibly anticipated.
Opposition spokesperson for Business Leanne Castley says the government’s latest actions over an about-face of listing the top 100 Canberra businesses to provide evidence of the scheme’s success brings into question its credentials.
Ms Cheyne had refused to reveal businesses on the floor of the assembly on Thursday that allegedly have a papertrail linked to dubious transactions, citing commercial in confidence for her silence.
She accused the Minister of “ducking and weaving” around the ChooseCBR scheme that has raised some serious questions.
“The Minister has misled the Canberra community,” Ms Castley said.
“The list raises more serious questions, which can only be properly answered by the Labor-Greens Government calling in the Auditor-General.
“The Auditor-General must scrutinise the entire scheme, in particular transactions that took place over a 25-hour period.
“We know from the trial that three businesses had questionable transactions with a total voucher value of $6156, but the government did not recover the money as it would have been too costly.”
Ms Cheyne said the government intends to conduct an “independent” review to look into any wrongdoing inside the scheme.
The government process will be addressed “by the last sitting day” of the assembly this year that could be as late as December 2.
The opposition criticised the “dud” scheme for its low take-up, with 797 eligible businesses – less than 20 per cent – of a possible 4000 particpating in the promotion
“That is a huge small business vote of no-confidence in ChooseCBR,” Ms Castley said.
“More than four in five eligible businesses did not bother signing up.”
A $6 million expansion of Clare Holland House, funded by the Commonwealth Government and The Snow Foundation, is complete.
It provides an additional eight palliative care inpatient beds enabling palliative care for an additional 250 patients a year.
Senator for the ACT Zed Seselja said the expansion will boost palliative care services for the region as the community continues to grow and demand for palliative care increases.
“Canberrans deserve to have access to the best end-of-life care possible. We are blessed to have the dedicated and passionate staff here at Clare Holland House delivering world-class care, out of a place of genuine compassion.”
“More Australians will require palliative care as our population grows and ages, and the $4 million contribution by the Australian government to this expansion will mean more Canberrans, and people from across our region, will be able to access the care they need close to their loved ones.”
REMEMBER Anne Brontë, the youngest of the Brontë sisters and author of the proto-feminist novel, “The Tenant of Wildfell Hall”?
Well, maybe not.
Historically overshadowed by her brilliant older sisters Emily (“Wuthering Heights”) and Charlotte (“Jane Eyre”), she’s the forgotten one, but not anymore, as playwright Cate Whittaker brings Anne into the spotlight with new relevance in light of the “Me Too” movement, so that she is now seen as the first whistle-blower on wife abuse.
Whittaker, also the author of “Forgotten”, based on the Parramatta female convict rebellion of 1827, has styled her work “a Victorian melodrama of murderous intrigue, madness and malice”, and intended it to be performed in the Brontë family’s Haworth schoolroom in England as part of the bicentenary celebrations for Anne.
Although the actors are dressed in full period costume, the proposal is very modern, that the Brontë sisters made an early contribution to feminism. The play recreates imaginary conversations between the three housebound sisters about the great questions of life and also its stultifying daily realities.
Anne is depicted by Whittaker as a “shy, sweet, sickly girl in the shadow of her two older sisters”, but she comes out of her shell in her sensational bestseller, “The Tenant of Wildfell Hall”, where she depicted a husband’s physical and moral decline.
It is now considered to be one of the first feminist novels.
“The Lost Voice Of Anne Brontë”, Courtyard Studio, Canberra Theatre Centre, June 25-26. Book here.