Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 9 Hansard (23 November) . . Page.. 2520..
MR WOOD (2.19 am): Mr Stefaniak has mucked it up. He read about six or seven extracts which we read, and they read quite well. They are in Hansard and they are accurate. We stood up here a year ago and said we were reducing the education budget. Quite a number of us said that. We made that acknowledgment. The difference between last year and this year, and the Government last year and the Government this year, Mr Stefaniak, is that we said it the way it was. You are not saying it the way it is. You are trying to say black is white. You are trying to say there is no cut when there is a cut. You are being hypocritical because you will not acknowledge that you are cutting the education budget. You could not even get the same figures that Mrs Carnell gave us earlier today. She told us this morning that the $7.7m CPI adjustment was added on to $192m. You tried to tell me a minute ago that it was added on to the $200m. So get our figures together. You did not build into this budget - it is clearly acknowledged - sufficient money to cover all salaries. You have to make cuts in order to do that. You have to reduce the salary budget to do that and make those cuts, and you will not even be honest about it. It stares us all in the face. It is in the documents and you will not be honest about it. It is incredible.
MR WHITECROSS (2.21 am): Mr Speaker, I am lost for words to describe the extraordinary speech that Mr Stefaniak just made.
Mr Stefaniak: That is good. Well done, Andrew.
MR WHITECROSS: But not completely lost for words. A word which Mr Stefaniak used towards the end of his speech seems particularly apt under the circumstances. It is the word "hypocritical". The debate from which Mr Stefaniak was reading, a debate in the Assembly in 1993, was a debate in which the Liberals came into this place and said that cutting 2 per cent off the education budget, as Labor proposed, was a terrible thing; that cutting the 80 teachers which Labor said it wished to cut in order to make the 2 per cent saving was a terrible thing. Indeed, the Liberals moved an amendment, Mr Speaker, to stop us from making that cut.
We have expressed our view today about the appropriateness of that amendment, but the fact is, regardless of the merits of that amendment, that the Liberals moved it. The Liberals took the position that under no circumstances should education be cut. They were the ones who sought to make heroes of themselves among the education lobby around this town by doing that. They are the ones who sought to reinforce that message by going into the ACT election promising to maintain the funding. They are using the well-known propaganda technique that is used so frequently by Mrs Carnell and now seeking to say that a cut is actually not a cut. We find ourselves in the situation where the only people who think that this cut is not a cut are the Government.
Compare the record of the Government in this regard to the record of the Opposition. The Labor Government came into this Assembly in 1993 and proposed a 2 per cent cut - the same cut we were proposing in other budgets. The fact is, as we know, that the Assembly did not agree with us and eventually, by the process that Mr Moore has outlined, the Assembly imposed on the Government and the Government was not able to make that cut. In 1994 the Government did not cut education. The Government listened to what the Assembly had to say in 1993.