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Yes, Minister . . Page.. 985 ..

For the Government to say that the cupboard was bare and that it is all the fault of the former Government is right out of volume 1 of Yes, Minister. Open the first envelope and it says, “Blame the former Government”. That lasts you for a year. In the second year you open the second envelope. It says, “Hold lots of inquiries”. We are doing that with consultants already. Of course, in the third year the message says, “Prepare three envelopes”. But that is another story.

We keep hearing the mantra, “It is all the fault of the former Government. We have inherited a terrible budget. The former Government did nothing”. The reality is that in this area the former Government's record is very sound. In difficult budgetary circumstances we did provide enhancements. We were always dealing with difficult budgets. As Ms Follett said yesterday, to refute the nonsense of Mrs Carnell and her clones who keep saying, “Shock, horror! We are in a dreadful budgetary situation”, for every budget but for the period the Liberals were in office, Labor was adjusting to the realities of self-government finances and in fact bringing down areas of overspending. Yet we were enhancing this area because we knew that we had to prepare for mandatory reporting.

I can recall when I was still Community Services Minister - that is well over a year ago now - opening the first of what was to be a series of seminars for workers in the child-care sector, for workers at occasional care and other child-care centres, to provide them with the necessary education for the coming of mandatory reporting. To get up here and say that the former Government did nothing is simply wrong. Money was spent. Training was in place. What is of concern to the Labor Opposition and of concern to many in the community is that it almost seems as though all that work has now been forgotten about. The Government is presenting it to the community almost as though there were a clean slate. It is saying, “We have to do training programs; we have to do education programs; we have to consider and carefully approach the issue of mandatory reporting”. The Government is saying that as though nothing had been done.

There is a fear that entrenched resistance - perhaps from some interests within the Government structure; perhaps from within other sectors - is creating a sense of inertia. It is important that the Government come out with a clear implementation program. We said last year that we saw 1994 as very much the gearing-up period and that we were looking to bring mandatory reporting in this calendar year. We really want to know where things stand. Ms McRae's call is not grandstanding. She is not saying that you should do it this week or next week or by 1 September, 1 October or 31 December. She is saying, “Let us know and let the community know where we stand”. The Government cannot get away with the sort of politicking that says that the former Government did nothing in this area. This is an area where our record is sound. We acknowledge that it has to be done carefully. We are not saying, “Do it tomorrow”. We are saying, “Tell us what you are doing and give the community a clear timeline”.

MR MOORE (11.33): Mr Speaker, the basic premise in Ms McRae's motion is that we must have mandatory reporting. I must say that I have some difficulty with that basic premise. It is an issue that Ms McRae dealt with very carefully. She pointed out that there were some advantages and some disadvantages and that it had to be implemented carefully. That was reiterated by Mr Connolly and the Minister. This issue is one of the most difficult I have faced since becoming a member of this Assembly. When I was

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