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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 5 Hansard (26 August) . . Page.. 1415..


MR HARGREAVES (6.21): I will oppose the amendment because I, too, believe that we ought to put some strength into the directing of it. I think it is pretty obvious. Blind Freddy can work it out. We can request as often as we like and nothing will happen.

The bottom line about this is that you can juggle within these budgets. Anybody with any sort of financial experience at all will see that because of the size of that budget it is possible to carve a little bit off this and a little bit off that to find this kind of money. It is not an impossible task. Otherwise the budget would be so tight that there would not be any freedom to move at all. You would not be able to find the money to pay these people for the hep C compensation if there was nothing sitting there. We have that sort of thing. I do not believe that this budget does not contain contingency funds to be able to effect this. It is possible to effect some rejigging of some numbers in there without affecting the bottom line.

I address my remarks through you, Mr Speaker, to the crossbenches. It is not going to happen if we request these people. They have to be directed by this chamber to do so. We are not bringing on a no-confidence motion. We are saying we want this particular one done.

Picking up Mr Osborne's point about liking to see more policing, liking to see more this and liking to see more that, I would like to see fewer pharmacies, and they would like to see more pharmacies and things like that. Wonderful. The reality of the day is that we had a whole stack of people outside this chamber. We had a whole stack of people on the march. You saw it for yourselves when we went to those performances at the Canberra School of Music. Those people have risen up and said to the Government, "We do not like that part of your budget". They have to wait three years before they can toss this Government out if that is how strongly they feel about it. But we can direct them to go back and do a little paring. For example, you can carve a little bit off the capital works program and it would not be noticed. There are sufficient moneys provided in those sorts of budgets for future price rises based on guesswork. We can take a little bit of that off. There is a whole stack of smallish programs in there. You can carve off a slice and it will not matter at all.

I urge you seriously to think about this. This is not a no-confidence motion in the Government. That is a furphy. We are not saying that mucking around with this budget is not on. We do not believe it is on. Let me put it to you for the last time - they can slice off a bit. They can do it.

Ms Carnell: Mr Speaker, I take a point of order. Mr Hargreaves is supposed to be addressing you, not Mr Rugendyke.

MR SPEAKER: That is true.

Ms Carnell: Thank you.


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