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Ms Follett: That is because we had the budget and revenue at the same time.
MR HUMPHRIES: Let me make it clear. Ms Follett suggests that there is some terrible breakdown in Government management because this year the budget is being delivered in September rather than in June. I should tell members who do not already know that the budget for 1989 was delivered by Ms Follett in exactly the same way, in September. The budget for 1990 was delivered by Mr Kaine as Treasurer in the same way, in September. In 1991 it was in September; in 1992 it was in September; in 1993 it was in September. In 1994, for the first time, the Assembly changed to a June budget. That was a move we all supported. We thought it was a good idea. But it was possible at that stage to assess the capacity of the rhythm of government decision-making being appropriate to that kind of organisation of the budget process.
A new Government took office in March of this year. To bring down a budget three months later, with great respect, would have been irresponsible on our part. We needed the extra time to deliver a budget that was comprehensive and carefully constructed. Bear in mind that a government gets only three budgets in the life of an Assembly. Not to have provided for a capacity to make decisions of the Government into the first budget because it was being delivered within the first three months would, effectively, have meant that the Government had only two budgets to deliver in the space of its three-year term, which I think would have been unfortunate. So, we have done what we did in four of the five previous years: We have put the budget back from a June budget to a September budget.
Ms Follett says that we have bits of the budget without having the budget itself. I remind her that that is exactly the way she delivered the budget in 1989, 1991, 1992 and 1993, with things like the Rates and Land Tax Bill coming in before the budget itself was delivered. So, this is not an unusual arrangement; this is exactly what has happened for most budgets in the life of the ACT Legislative Assembly, and it ought to be the case that we follow here. I think Ms Follett is trying to create the impression that she is only being reasonable about the organisation of this matter; but, in fact, what she is suggesting is most unreasonable.
The problem with deleting the words that she suggests be deleted is that it means that there is, effectively, no limit on what budget proposals or what spending proposals of the Government can be examined. Issues the Government has put on the table, promises that might have been made in the Government's own program, can be debated freely, even though they are not part of the 1995-96 budget. That was not a discipline she cared to impose on herself, and I ask why she should impose a discipline on a new government now that it has come into office. Obviously, a different rule is being applied. That is the case.
Ms McRae: Nonsense!
MR HUMPHRIES: It is the case. Look at what you did last year. That, I think, is a very good reason not to support this amendment.