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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 4 Hansard (21 June) . . Page.. 1028..


MR CONNOLLY: There would be the numbers here if we wanted to play silly partisan politics. When the Government is in trouble they get Mr Humphries up to give the good, rousing, belt the Labor Party speech. The numbers would probably be here if we wanted to move a motion requiring the Treasurer to provide information down to program level in the conventional manner. I would hope that we do not have to do that.

Mrs Carnell: You would not have to move. You would have to ask me.

MR CONNOLLY: I will now ask you, on behalf of members - I think it was pretty clear from the Leader of the Opposition's speech that that is what we want - to provide that information down to program level in the conventional manner. It is quite remarkable that the Treasurer has been condemned by all sides today for the poor nature of the documentation that has been provided. The opportunity is clearly here for the Opposition to try to take a political point here and move a motion to condemn you, but we always try to play a responsible role in budgetary processes, and that is what we are doing. Our leader clearly indicated that we will be supporting supply going through. You have been condemned by all sides for the poor level of detail.

Mrs Carnell: But no-one has asked for one bit of information.

MR CONNOLLY: There is clearly a strong view that we would like that data and I now formally ask you to provide it. I take it from your interjected responses that you will provide that to members during the next few days. We want the program level, as is the conventional process in the budget and the Supply Bill.

MRS CARNELL (Chief Minister and Treasurer) (4.31), in reply: I find this a really interesting debate. What we are doing here, simply, is providing enough money for the Government to continue to operate until the budget is passed. Everybody knows that that is what a supply Bill does. It is not a mini-budget. It is not the first stage of the budget. It is not something that you can look at and determine, on a program and subprogram level, what this Government is going to spend. It is a straight extrapolation of Ms Follett's budget. That is what it is. If we were in a position to do anything different we could have brought down our budget, and then we would not have a problem here.

It is certainly true that we would have preferred to bring down the budget in June. In fact, for quite a number of weeks after we took over government we had in mind that we would do that, and we did our absolute best to achieve those ends; but, when we realised just what a mess the whole situation was in and what dramatic surgery was going to be required on the current budget to bring down a decent budget, particularly a three-year plan that aims, at year three, at having a balanced budget, which would be a substantial move away from the previous Government's approach, we realised that it was simply going to be impossible in the timeframe. It is interesting that the New South Wales Government found the same thing and have also announced a later budget. They had an election at a similar time to us and found that the timeframe was impossible. That is the reason for having to have a supply Bill. We certainly plan to bring down an early budget next year. It is not just planned; it is what we will do. An early budget will come down next year, but this year it has been impossible. So, we had to put together a supply Bill that gives us enough money to pay staff and to do all those sorts of things until the budget is passed.


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