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Whatever the level at which the decision was made, it ought not to have been made, because it can only be about trying to hide some money. Mr Speaker, it is clearly Government policy, it is clearly the attitude of this Assembly, that you do not hide things. We have made that clear from the time we were first here. Any Treasury official who allows that, and a Chief Minister who lets it through, ought to be particularly embarrassed.
It is the responsibility of the Government to run the departments the way it wants to run them. There is a challenge for the Chief Minister, and it is a challenge that I know she is standing up to. Of course, it is now a great challenge for her new Head of Administration, Mr Walker. I hope that Mr Walker is made aware of this debate today. I hope that there will be some action taken so that we do not have to run this same sort of harsh line on the Government and on Treasury in the budget debates. They ought to be terribly embarrassed, Mr Speaker. Like Ms Follett, whilst I will support the Supply Bill - I have made it very clear that I intend to - I must say that it is just hopeless.
MS TUCKER (4.15): Mr Speaker, I am going to continue the theme as well. I was beginning to think that, as newcomers to this place, we have come into a totally bizarre world because of the pace and the process that occurs here. Obviously, we feel an obligation to support supply as well; but I must say that I am pleased to have heard what Ms Follett and Mr Moore have said. It gives me a little more faith that things are not usually quite as chaotic as this.
MR BERRY (4.15): Mr Speaker, I thought that perhaps I was being a bit too harsh on the Government when I thought that what was being put forward here was pretty much a stunt - a smart alec stunt - to make it impossible to compare year on year, to make it impossible to compare the various sections of the Supply Bill with each other, and, therefore, to confuse the Assembly. Now that I am supported in that view by Mr Moore, I feel a lot better. I feel confident that that is what this is all about - another smart alec stunt, so that the rest of the community cannot properly assess the performance of this Government. Mr Moore said that the Chief Minister ought to be embarrassed. I think somebody coined the description “blush-proof”. It was coined for Mrs Carnell, I am sure, because, on this score, there is not a glimmer of red about her - except in her coat, of course. There is not a sign of a blush. Mind you, if I were one of the Treasury officials, I would be a little bit worried about what is going to happen after this sitting ends. There is no sign of embarrassment from the Chief Minister; but she has been, I think, severely caught out.
Another thing I want to talk about is the delayed budget and how this affects the Territory. We changed from a September budget some years ago. We went to a new arrangement. The budget was presented earlier, and that was supported by all of the Assembly, for good reason. It was something that, I think, was welcomed by the community. An early budget is a lot different from a late one in terms of its effect on the community, especially when you have a new government. I think there is a lot of dismay out in the community about what the future holds. We have seen job advertising figures which demonstrate that, over a year, we are about 4 per cent down. This shows to me that there is a lack of confidence in this Government by the business sector. They are just sitting pat. They will not do anything until they find out where the Government is headed.