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Just before I go on to give you a couple of positives - I like to mention positives - I refer to Tip Fee Tony. I have used a first name, but in a special sense.
Mr De Domenico: Tipper Dipper.
MR MOORE: The fee being imposed by Tipper Dipper makes us realise that the promise the Liberals made not to reduce services was really just hot air. In the Estimates Committee we will be looking for other service reductions.
I will now mention a couple of positives, Mr Speaker, because they belong here. First of all, I have stood up in this house six years running to talk about governments failing to set their priorities. At least this Government has set its priorities. I disagree with them, but it has set them. Unfortunately, those priorities are directed not at education but at looking after the big end of town. Unfortunately, they are not directed at small business either. This is how I give my positives. I also note, Mr Speaker, that under Children’s, Family and Youth Services there is appropriate funding for mandatory reporting. It is something that has been coming for a long time and is a particularly positive move. The same applies to the extra funding - we will see how appropriate it is - for mental health. There is no doubt that a long-term strategy to contain the ACT debt is something that the people of the ACT expected of this Liberal Government. It is something that they are looking for the Government to deliver on. We will have to wait to see whether it is done. But, on those issues, I think a positive is appropriate. I did actually find another page under my pad, Mr Speaker, but fortunately it is blank.
MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General) (4.42): Mr Speaker, I have only one page too, but it is only an A5 page. I am going to be even shorter in time than Mr Moore took, which would not be hard. Mr Speaker, I want only to cover a few points in a brief style on this budget. I do not think that the quality of budget debate in this place gets any better each year, and the Opposition's contribution is pretty much par for the course. Ms Follett in previous years, in criticising the budget of Mr Kaine, made some rather extraordinary statements, and I will come back to those in a minute. The kind of knee-jerk populist reaction that we got from Ms Follett back in 1990 is repeated here. It seems to me that everything she had to say about the budget was along these lines: “You are not spending as much in this area” or, “You are cutting back in that area” or, “You have not kept a promise in this area” and, “This is bad”.
Ms McRae: Of course it is. It is your budget.
MR HUMPHRIES: Ms McRae says that it is bad. Ms McRae says that it is bad that we are spending $12m on redundancies. I want to quote what Ms Follett had to say back in 1990 about redundancies when Mr Kaine audaciously decided to spend $6m on redundancies. Ms Follett said this:
In 1990-91 over $6m is going to be spent in paying people out of the public service. This is a disaster for Canberra at a time when the employment outlook is very gloomy. There is some bad news hidden very deep in Mr Kaine's budget.