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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 9 Hansard (21 November) . . Page.. 2189 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

entire framework of this decision-making, has the responsibility to reconcile all of those claims and all of those demands, and balance the budget, bring down a responsible budget in the long-term interest of the people of this Territory. That group of people is the Government.

It is very easy for those opposite to say, "You should have done things differently. You should not have cut education. You should not have cut community services. You should not have cut libraries. You should not have cut ACTION". But, Mr Speaker, the record shows that in government, over five of the last six years, that is precisely what they did. They did cut education. They did cut public transport. They did cut community services. They did cut libraries. They did so, Mr Speaker, because of one overpowering fact of life which it is convenient now for those in opposition to ignore, but which we on this side of the chamber cannot ignore, and that is that the Commonwealth's support for the ongoing functions of the Territory has not continued. We have had to cut our cloth to fit our purse and that is what we are now in the process of doing, just as the previous Government attempted to do it. I might say, a little more forthrightly, that we are looking at the fundamental issues in a way which the previous Government never got around to doing. We are still doing that. With respect, for Mr Whitecross to say, "How dare they cut education! How dare they cut community services!", is to make a very shallow, very hollow claim.

Mr Speaker, despite saying that, I share with the Labor Party the fundamental view that only governments can frame those budgets, and the governments have to be judged on those budgets. Their budgets are their major work, their magnum opus, during the course of their term of office. This Government will go to the next election at the end of the three years, we hope, and we will say, "We have achieved these things from our budgets". No doubt those opposite will say, "They have failed in certain respects in their budgets". But those budgets are our budgets. They are our hallmark. We must be judged on those budgets.

Mr Speaker, I therefore suggest that the request that we consider these matters is logically redundant because we have already done so. We have already looked at the issues raised in the Estimates Committee report. The motion would seem to suggest that we have overlooked the Estimates Committee report, and I assure members that we have not. We have seriously considered every one of those recommendations, including the four referred to in this motion. Despite that fact, it is, I suppose, reasonable for the Assembly to request us to look at those issues. I can advise members of the Assembly that we have done so already and will respond in those terms when the Chief Minister hands down the Government's response to the Estimates Committee report.

MRS CARNELL (Chief Minister and Treasurer) (12.19): It is extremely difficult to respond to this motion because it is stating the bleeding obvious. Obviously the Government, this afternoon, when we bring down our response to the Estimates Committee report, will consider each one of these recommendations, and all the other recommendations as well. I tried to work out why these particular recommendations were picked up in this motion. Why would not all recommendations of the Estimates Committee - - -

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