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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 25 March 2010) . . Page.. 1531 ..

because there was growth in initiatives and growth in services. You cannot deliver the growth in services that you all supported at budget time, I think, from memory—or did you vote against the budget? So they voted against the budget; I can’t recall, because they are so irrelevant that it does not actually matter.

Opposition members interjecting—

MS GALLAGHER: You are so irrelevant that you do not actually matter. We do not actually care what your vote does. But we had initiatives that required growth in our staffing numbers. That situation has changed in terms of future revenue, expected revenue coming to the territory under the Commonwealth Grants Commission, and that has required the government to rethink key decisions and to put in place measures to support current employment, but to make sure that we do not employ staff if, at some time in the future, their employment may become vulnerable. So that is the decision we took. (Time expired.)

MR SPEAKER: Supplementary, Mr Hargreaves?

MR HARGREAVES: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. My supplementary question is to the Treasurer. Treasurer, do you think that it would be irresponsible not to put the brake on public service growth in the situation where we are struggling with trying to find an $80 million deficit we did not expect?

Mr Seselja: Point of order, Mr Speaker. Mr Hargreaves is seeking an expression of opinion. I ask you to rule it out of order.

Mr Hargreaves: On the point of order, Mr Speaker, the original question was about staff cuts of essential staff. I am asking the Treasurer for her opinion as the Treasurer, not an opinion. I am asking her to tell us whether it would be irresponsible or whether it would be not so.

MR SPEAKER: Thank you, Mr Hargreaves. It is fine.

Mr Hargreaves: This is a pedantry.

MR SPEAKER: In light of Mr Hargreaves’s clarification, the question is in order.

MS GALLAGHER: The answer to the question is, yes, it would have been irresponsible for us not to respond to the situation that arose post the release of the Commonwealth Grants Commission report immediately. Indeed, if the government had not responded—

Mr Hanson: But you have said you won’t respond to that immediately.

MS GALLAGHER: and had not looked serious about responding to such a dramatic—

Mr Hanson: You respond immediately when it suits you.

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