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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 9 Hansard (21 November) . . Page.. 2187 ..

MS FOLLETT (continuing):

faced with this situation. It effectively has been on notice since then that there would be a need for it to make some amendments to its budget. It can, if it has been taking the Assembly and the Estimates Committee process seriously, still report back in time to have the Appropriation Bill passed in the timetable in which it wishes to have it passed.

Mr Speaker, I was appalled, after the Estimates Committee report had been made public out of session, that the Government's response was immediate and was negative on the Estimates Committee recommendations.

Mrs Carnell: That is not true. On one of them it was.

MS FOLLETT: Well, it was the Government's response as reported, Mr Speaker. It seems to me that this is a very serious piece of work. It has been taken seriously by everybody involved in it. It would well behove a minority government, if not any government, to take such a serious piece of work seriously on board and explain, if they must, to this Assembly why they differ with the Estimates Committee's recommendations.

It is my view that the Estimates Committee could have made a raft of recommendations to the Government. They could have taken on every issue - some of them extremely serious, like the cut to libraries, like the future of our health system, like the reductions in public sector employment. Mr Speaker, the Estimates Committee has confined itself to a small number of legitimate criticisms of this budget, and I believe it is now up to the Government, and to those who support the Government, to ensure that those legitimate criticisms are acted upon. I commend this motion to the house.

MS HORODNY (12.10): The Greens will be supporting this motion. We are disappointed with the Labor Party members, who profess to be the champions of virtually everything but have not shown any inclination to amend the appalling budget brought down by the Liberals earlier this year. Some may say that this motion is more about politics than about education and the Estimates Committee recommendations. We have decided to ignore its political intentions and concentrate on its contents. We believe that the Government should respond positively to the unanimous recommendations of the Estimates Committee, and we believe that the Government should restore the funding to education.

We have stated our opinions about the budget process already today, so I will not be reiterating those. However, if the Labor Party believes that it would govern better, it must first demonstrate its desire to consult more widely and to listen to the views of members of this place. Despite the rhetoric of the Liberals during the election, they have failed to demonstrate any of these characteristics, and, by their failure, we believe they have abrogated one of their principal responsibilities. An easy way for Labor to make that demonstration is by voting for the amendments to the budget that will be moved this afternoon. Those amendments carry legislative weight, while this motion may carry merely some political weight. As for those members who may wish to vote against this motion and vote for the amendments, or those members who are planning to vote for the amendments but not for the motion, I urge them to think again. We must use all means at our disposal to try to get this Government to do the right thing. Half-hearted attempts that suit the political purposes of members are just not good enough.

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