Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 6 Hansard (21 May) . . Page.. 1541..
SCRUTINY OF BILLS AND SUBORDINATE LEGISLATION -
Report and Statement
MS FOLLETT: Mr Speaker, I present Report No. 6 of 1996 of the Standing Committee on Scrutiny of Bills and Subordinate Legislation, and I ask for leave to make a brief statement on the report.
MS FOLLETT: Mr Speaker, Report No. 6 of 1996 contains the committee's comments on three Bills and 25 pieces of subordinate legislation. For the information of members, the most outstanding item on which the committee has commented relates to some appointments under the Statutory Appointments Act. In particular, at least one appointment has some question as to its validity. I would urge Ministers to pay prompt attention to the comments made by the committee. I commend the report to the Assembly.
Debate resumed from 16 April 1996, on motion by Mrs Carnell:
That this Bill be agreed to in principle.
MR WHITECROSS (Leader of the Opposition) (3.15): Mr Speaker, there is no doubt that the debate on the Carnell Government's second appropriation will be spirited and intense. It will be spirited because there is a plethora of important issues to be discussed, because there are many unresolved issues of concern to members of this place and the Canberra community, and because mystery and subterfuge still surround the motivation behind this Bill. This debate will be intense because I am sure that those opposite will be feeling the heat for the unnecessary process they instigated, a process whereby they are asking for a further appropriation. This Bill seeks to provide $14.2m out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund, which does alter the bottom line of the budget. This is something members of this place must consider prudently.
Before I canvass some of the very important events that precipitated the Government's drive for a further appropriation, I think it is necessary for me to outline why I called on the Chief Minister and Treasurer, Mrs Carnell, to withdraw this Bill following the Estimates Committee's report. The second Appropriation Bill is unnecessary. The Bill is unnecessary because Mrs Carnell herself says that she does not need it. She does not need the further funds to supplement her budget, which this Bill provides for. Mrs Carnell is asking the Assembly to take her on trust, to believe her when she says that she will not spend it. But can we? Mrs Carnell has already changed her story several times on this matter, and she is the master of doublespeak. This Appropriation Bill is unnecessary because section 49 of the Audit Act invests the Government with the ability to transfer between appropriations to accommodate variances in budget priorities or, in this case, a disappointing budget blow-out. It is disappointing since, once again, Mrs Carnell has let the people of Canberra down. Mrs Carnell has a penchant for talking big, for being overly and misleadingly optimistic, and not being able to deliver.