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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 11 Hansard (8 December) . . Page.. 3224..


Mr Hargreaves: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I have sat here in silence, and I propose to do so for the rest of the day. You made a ruling recently about heckling and cajoling of speakers. Could I ask you to uphold that.

MR SPEAKER: I uphold the point of order.

MR BERRY: Do not try to mislead us on this. The fact of the matter is that leaflets under windscreens are not as important as waiting lists.

Mr Moore: On the point of order, Mr Speaker: No member can lightly raise the issue of misleading. It is quite clear that Mr Berry's envy, his jealousy, is leading him down this particular path where he is being disingenuous. He ought to be careful about using the word "mislead" and he ought to withdraw it.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Berry, I would ask you to please restrict yourself to the Government's response to the report.

MR BERRY: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Indeed, that is what I am doing. Mr Speaker, the point we were making was that it is more important to worry about waiting lists and access to the methadone program than it is to worry about leaflets under windscreens. That was a very clear point that we were making. The committee said that the diversion of Ministers from their portfolio responsibilities to promote and deal with their insignificant Executive private members business should be avoided. That is a fair point. It was not taking a shot at anyone. In fact, I do not think the leaflet matter was mentioned in the report that was presented to the Assembly. It may have been, but I just cannot see it for the moment. I think it was a fairly straight point. It was a silly move, and it is universally understood to be so.

Mr Speaker, I heard the Chief Minister say, through gritted teeth, that the Government had agreed, in full or in part, to 13 of the committee's recommendations. That is not bad, considering that there are only 19. It is quite interesting that the Chief Minister was strident in her criticism of the committee yet the Government agreed to 13 of the recommendations. I will turn to some of them. Mr Speaker, one thing which does bother me is the Government's response to the following recommendation:

The committee recommends that the Government:

(i) quarantine funding for extraordinarily costly court cases from `average' cases when formulating the next budget;

(ii) designate separate funding for extraordinary cases; and

(iii) provide supplementary funding where the appropriation for extraordinary cases is insufficient.

It is said here that the Government has not agreed. I have not had time to read through all of the Government's response; but it strikes me as odd that the Government would not be able to make extra appropriation, say from the Chief Minister's area, to fund extraordinary cases such as the hospital implosion inquiry. That is soaking up at


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