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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 9 Hansard (23 November) . . Page.. 2547..


MR MOORE (continuing):

Mr Speaker, I also take this opportunity to foreshadow a motion that I have circulated to censure the Leader of the Opposition for the double standards adopted by her in her approach to the 1995-96 Appropriation Bill. I will be seeking to bring that motion on after we have dealt with this one. Mr Speaker, I certainly will be supporting this motion and I have had an indication from my colleague Mr Osborne that he also will now be supporting it, for similar reasons to those that I have just put.

MS FOLLETT (Leader of the Opposition) (4.06 am), in reply: Mr Speaker, I will respond very briefly to close the debate on this motion. I want to remind members that in the course of this debate - it was, in fact, yesterday - Mrs Carnell said of the motion that had been passed by this Assembly on the Estimates Committee report that it was "smart arse". She later had to withdraw the term "smart arse", and for it she substituted "irrelevant". Mr Speaker, I think that the use of that term sums up everything you need to know about this Government's attitude towards the Assembly. It is an attitude of total contempt. I think it is terribly sad that the Government has been able to get away with that attitude of total contempt. Mr Speaker, as I have said before, the Estimates Committee report was a serious enough proposition for any government, but to act as the Government did when faced by a motion passed in this Assembly to require them to take that Estimates Committee report seriously, which they did not, I think is a very grave matter indeed. It demonstrates a total contempt, a disdain, for the processes of this parliament and for the members of this Assembly.

The same contempt was shown by Mrs Carnell's attitude in the earlier debate on this motion. Mrs Carnell produced what she claimed to be her consultation file for the preparation of this budget. Mrs Carnell made a grand gesture in flinging the file down on the table and saying, "Anybody can look at it. Here it is. Here are our consultation processes. You can use up all your photocopying allowance making photocopies of it". That is what Mrs Carnell said, Mr Speaker. Of course, the minute anyone moved to take her up on that, the minute I went and got the file and started to read through it, Mrs Carnell wanted it back. I said to her, "Why do you want it back?". "It is confidential.", she said to me. This is a confidential file on consultation.

Mr Speaker, I have to say that in the brief time available to me I ascertained from that file that it contained the fairly standard budget submissions which I am sure every member of this Assembly received in the lead-up to the budget and it contained some handwritten notes. There were a couple of significant ones, but I will mention only one. Mrs Carnell seems to think that the name of the head of the teachers union is Mr Haggard. It is close. If that is a demonstration of her approach to consultation, Mr Speaker, it is an absolute sham. The grand gesture by Mrs Carnell in saying, "Here is our consultation document." was farcical. No sooner had she produced it than she snatched it back. The whole gesture was completely empty. It was as empty as the rhetoric that we have had from this Government about an open and consultative budget process. As I said, secrecy has become the hallmark of this Government. Even when they might make an expansive gesture, a little move towards openness in saying, "Here is the file.", immediately the old secrecy germ comes back and they revert to type.


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