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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 9 Hansard (21 November) . . Page.. 2225 ..

MRS CARNELL (continuing):

That ran right through until we got the Estimates Committee report, which somehow suggested that the Assembly budget was formulated on the basis of last year's actuals, which was an underspend. Hopefully, I have made it clear, for this Assembly and for the community generally, that that is not the case. In fact, we would never adopt that sort of budgeting approach.

Mr Berry: You used actuals.

MRS CARNELL: We did not use actuals or underspend. That is the case. The Legislative Assembly was treated, I think, in a very fair and open manner during budget deliberations. After allowing for one-off expenditure in 1994-95, the budget of $5.489m represents an increase of 6 per cent in funding compared to the expenditure in 1994-95. I accept that expenditure in 1994-95 was an underspend.

This is really interesting because the forward estimate from the former Government for 1995-96 was $5.085m, which increases to $5.473m after indexation and other technical adjustments are made. As you can see, the amount of money that we allocated to the Assembly was marginally above the forward estimate put in place by the previous Government. I honestly cannot see what all the belly-aching here is about. The decisions with regard to security and other things were made by the Administration and Procedure Committee, not by the Government. We have made it very clear that we believe that some of the decisions made, such as not to allow security cards to certain people and so on, are ridiculous decisions, particularly as security cards cost, I think, $16.80 each. I thought that we could probably handle that out of the Executive budget, Mr Speaker, if necessary.

I think the bottom line here is that the amount we have allocated is very much in line with the forward estimates of the previous Government, and the way we have treated the Assembly is in line with everybody else. I would be surprised if the community, the people out there in the ACT getting services such as health, education and all of the other things provided by this Government, would believe that politicians should somehow be treated differently.

MR BERRY (4.20): One of the things I want to dwell on is the hypocrisy here. This person, now in the form of the Chief Minister, once insisted that certain funding in this Assembly be restored. She laid it on the Labor Government of the day that it was a requirement. That funding - - -

Mrs Carnell: We have never done that. That is wrong.

Mr Moore: That is yet another example of when we said that funding had to be changed.

MR BERRY: You can read between the lines. Of course, it was restored. Do not give us any of this nonsense that it has never happened before. There is another thing that I want to dwell on, too. Things have changed since Mrs Carnell went from being a member in this place to being in the Executive. It was very important for Mrs Carnell to have funding restored in the Assembly for the servicing of MLAs in the place when she was one.

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