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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 8 Hansard (11 August) . .

Page.. 2831..


While I accept that there will always be some hesitation or even resistance where prevailing orthodoxies are challenged I see a real opportunity to innovate in this area. It can be done in a way that preserves the strengths of the system of responsible government and respects the pre-eminent role of the parliament as the master of its own destiny. I ask members to think seriously about this as a means of strengthening our key democratic institution in the ACT.

In conclusion let me say briefly that I am proud to confirm that the building works to accommodate an enlarged Assembly are complete and they are completed in advance of the planned timetable and under budget. Not only have the accommodation requirements been met but we have also seen a significant improvement in the amenity of an ageing building, making it a much more pleasant place to work. I congratulate all the people involved in planning, building and overseeing what I regard as a project that has been exemplary in its execution.

After the Assembly rises tonight for the last time the chamber will close and become the next phase of the reimaging of this building. The central table will be removed and a new one put in its place. I look forward to seeing the interplay of the Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister facing off against the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Opposition at such close quarters. It will make for a very new and very interesting dynamic in the chamber as we move into a new and exciting chapter in self-government.

I thank the Chief Minister and Treasurer and officials for their cooperation as far as it went in relation to the Legislative Assembly's budget. On behalf of the officers of the Legislative Assembly I also thank them for their cooperation and assistance. I look forward to a fruitful conversation about the best way to ensure the independence of the Assembly and the officers of the Legislative Assembly and having an evolving and collaborative discussion about our future funding.

MR BARR (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Tourism and Events and Minister for Urban Renewal) (8.23), in reply: I thank members for their contribution. I am pleased to be able to endorse this appropriation. I take on board the comments made by the Speaker. We certainly did have a robust consideration of all the proposals that were put forward by the Speaker for this appropriation. We supported most of them but not all of them. We look at the various proposals that come before the budget cabinet. I am sure each of my ministerial colleagues would feel that they also had a range of very worthy budget initiatives that were unable to be funded this year.

I will make a couple of observations in response to what Madam Speaker has said. It is all well and good to come in here and give high-minded speeches about collaboration and cooperation and how everyone should get to set their own budgets but when you are the Treasurer and you are on the receiving end of the tirade of abuse that comes particularly from those opposite about the spending of public money or the raising of public money it is just a little rich to be told that if we all hold hands in a circle we may be able to find a way through. Maybe we would. Maybe we might. But I am certain that regardless of the political persuasion of the occupant of the office of


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