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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 9 Hansard (21 November) . . Page.. 2192 ..

MR KAINE (continuing):

In fact, the minute this debate is over the Treasurer could get to her feet and say, "We have done all that. We have considered the $3.8m. In fact we had thought about it before. We cannot do it. So, regrettably, we have met the requirements of the Estimates Committee, in that we have considered it; but that is all there is to it. As for the others, we are already doing that. We are already providing adequate funds to implement the ACT mental health plan". The Government can say that. They can say that they have sufficient resources to police the illegal dumping. There is no requirement really for the Government to do anything as a result of this, because they can reasonably argue that they have done all of the things that the Leader of the Opposition is now asking them to do.

This motion is a fairly pathetic attempt to get some kind of publicity, and for the Leader of the Opposition to stretch her muscles a bit, to flex them and to say, "I am really pushing the Government around". In fact it is achieving nothing. Because it achieves nothing, and because it stretches the reasonable interpretations that I have seen of the legal situation and of the conventions of this Assembly, Mr Speaker, it will not have my support.

MR MOORE (12.29): Yes, Mr Speaker, there have been some changing views. Mrs Carnell quoted some views from Rosemary Follett, but we could look at the Government and say, "What about the whole notion of council-style government? You ran into the election calling for council-style government". Council-style government means a sharing of responsibilities, particularly in terms of the budget. How convenient it is for Mr Humphries to stand up and say, "Well, we might get to the stage of reviewing and revising government". I guess the rest of us understand that you would do that when you are out of government. At the moment it is convenient to retain the powers and convenient to rely on legal opinions. Labor cannot laugh at this because they are comfortably relying on legal opinions from Mr Connolly and from the Attorney-General's office. I have provided one that gives the opposite opinion.

Mr Connolly: That is an assertion, not an opinion, Michael. There is a difference.

MR MOORE: I draw your attention to the fact that the opinion from the Attorney-General's Department points out that it is non-justiciable, so in fact the decision would be made in this Assembly. Mr Connolly disagrees with them. He makes an assertion - he is keen on using the word "assertion" - that he thinks it is justiciable, without attempting to justify that. I believe that we ought to deal with this matter in the budget debate. Labor find themselves in an awkward position because they might be in government at some stage. Therefore, they want to be able to ensure that nobody can interfere with the budget process. They will pretend to work on that so that they can avoid taking action which would protect education. We would hardly expect them to be supporting education, having cut it and cut it themselves.

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