Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 09 Hansard (Thursday, 13 October 2022) . . Page.. 3097 ..
It is really up to the other members in here to decide if this funding meets their tests or whether it is in the public interest. I certainly think this MOU and this particular budget line item meet the transparency and scrutiny tests. The previous ones did not. This one does. We at least know what the money is, we know where it is and we know how much it is. This particular decision has at least been made with integrity and openness and there has certainly been public debate.
But what is the public benefit that Canberra is getting for this public funding? I think most people will have seen the Riotact poll recently. Three in four Canberrans do not think this money is in the public interest. They think that the social licence for horseracing has run out and they do not understand why we keep handing over millions of dollars year on year.
This amendment proposes to reduce the funding by 20 per cent. Next year I will propose to reduce the funding by 40 per cent. It is time to phase out this funding deal. It is time to stop public funding for the horseracing industry. I commend the amendment to the Assembly.
MS LEE (Kurrajong—Leader of the Opposition) (4.51): This is an extraordinary situation and it would be farcical if it were not such a serious breach of the fundamental certainty and stability of our Westminster system! We have an amendment to the budget brought on by a Greens backbencher—a Greens backbencher who, for all intents and purposes, is a government backbencher, given the Labor-Greens coalition we have here in the ACT.
What will be exceedingly interesting is to see how Mr Rattenbury votes on this amendment. But of course we already got a preview on budget night. Mr Rattenbury, the ACT Greens leader, the Attorney-General in the Barr-Rattenbury government and a member of the government’s Expenditure Review Committee, indicated on budget night that he would not support Mr Barr’s budget in full. This is the budget that Mr Rattenbury helped create around the ERC table, and the Greens party would move to vote against certain items of expenditure.
At the time I outlined in the chamber that the extraordinary announcement by Mr Rattenbury on budget night could lead us to three possible outcomes: the Greens capitulate to their Labor political puppet masters and their principles go out the window; the government accepts the Greens amendment, admitting that the Greens call all the shots in their power-sharing agreement after all; or the Greens vote against the budget and it fails to pass. And now we find ourselves here, with an amendment by the Greens backbench on the table for debate. How will the Labor members vote? How will Mr Rattenbury vote? If the Greens vote down on this amendment but pass the budget, does it not confirm that it was all grandstanding? Where will the Greens actually draw the line?
The Greens amendment is contrary to the parliamentary and governing agreement to which all Labor and Greens MLAs are signatories. The agreement requires Labor and Greens MLAs to “guarantee support for the passage of appropriation bills” and to “agree to work together as a cabinet and a government”. Is this what we are