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In relation to this chamber, if we used Mr Humphries's logic and the Liberal Party's logic we would close it down; we would close it down right now. Have a look. All I can see in here is staff and a member of the journalists profession. So, if we used the logic that has been put forward by the Liberals and Mr Moore, we would close the place immediately; there is no interest in it, so why should we have it? That might suit the Liberals’ agenda, because Mr Humphries believes, as he said, that there is no need, in his view of council-style government, for the people to see their politicians working.
Mr Connolly: We could put a suppression order on the place.
MR BERRY: That is right. Use the Liberal approach. We will put a suppression order on the place. This is absolutely outrageous. The argument bears no logic. It just does not have any logic at all. I know that there are a few members of the Liberal Party who do not want to come here on Tuesday night. None of us really want to be here on Tuesday night. Some of us might be able to do other things. But there is nothing more important to do than to come here on Tuesday night when there is a sitting, and there is nothing more important to do than to give complete access to this place, as has been pointed out by my colleague Ms McRae, at all times possible and at times which are convenient to the community. She rightly drew attention to the fact that people are not going to take flextime to come here during the day. Indeed, we know that about half of the labour force in the ACT is from the private sector. They do not get flextime, and they would not get flextime to pop into the Assembly in any event. So, what we end up with is some outrageous suggestions by the Liberals that people would be able to pop in here during the day or take a bit of flextime. That has been suggested in the past.
By some twisted analysis of the costing of this place, it was also put that it costs an enormous amount of money - $15,000. It costs $6m a year to run this place. What is $15,000 to provide access to the community when you spend $6m to run the place? Let us not forget that there has not been proper discounting to take account of the cost of running a Tuesday morning sitting. That accounting has not been done. So, it is fallacious to put that point of view. In any event, we keep coming back to this promise by the Liberals: “We promise open, accountable, council-style government”. You are not delivering it. You are doing exactly the reverse. Take the Brisbane City Council. It meets at night-time. List the councils that do not meet at night-time. We have had open, consultative, council-style government here for six years, and there have been thousands of people who have come through this place to see the place at work. Ms McRae mentioned that we had one person here who would have moved to close the place down; but, dare I say it, there were many who came to see him work, too. So, we had that accessibility. It is something that is valued by the community, and it is something that ought to be retained.
This is an issue that goes to a very clear election promise. Mr Humphries has made it clear that he does not believe that council-style government means letting the voters look at their politicians work. He does not believe that it includes letting the people watch us work. I do, and most of the community out there believe that they ought to have access to the place, too. This is the parliament of the ACT, and people demand access to see the place work. They do not want to see it closed down. That is what these moves by the Liberals are about.