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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 9 Hansard (21 November) . . Page.. 2227 ..

Mrs Carnell: No; we worry about the people.

MR BERRY: You worried about yourself when you were an MLA and you ensured that the funding was restored; but as soon as you get yourself up on the next floor you start to lose interest in the people beneath you. Free and open government loses its meaning once you go up one level. What a joke! I think, Mr Speaker, that the hypocrisy of the Government, and in particular Mrs Carnell, has been clearly demonstrated in relation to this issue. There has been, in effect, an attempt to undermine the way this parliament operates, and now Mrs Carnell does not want to accept the responsibility for the changes that had to be implemented in the least painful way. Well, they are her responsibility and she has to wear it.

MR MOORE (4.25): Indeed, she does have to wear it, Mr Speaker. Mrs Carnell, just as she did at question time with reference to the education budget, stands up now in regard to the Legislative Assembly budget and says that it has not been treated any differently from any other budget; that they have added money to it, not taken money away from it. Why, then, is it that we have to find an extra $110,000 or so, if money has not been taken away? She can explain that when her turn to speak comes around again. The point is that money has been taken away from the Assembly.

Why should this vote be treated any differently? Well, it is the only part of the budget that, according to the Grants Commission, is running at under half the cost of any comparable body in any other State or Territory in this nation. If you could manage that with all your other administrative areas except education and health, we would have plenty of money for education and health. We could have the best possible systems in the world. I bet Treasury is not running at half the rate of every other Treasury in Australia and then - - -

Mr Kaine: There is not a Treasury any more, Michael. It is zero.

MR MOORE: I do not care what you call it. I do not care whether you call it Treasury or Financial Advice - whatever you change its name to. The point is, Mr Speaker, that Mrs Carnell, as an MLA in opposition, was prepared to say "Yes, more money is needed to allow MLAs to do their job". In government she says, "We advocate open government". The best way to get open government is by ensuring that members of the Opposition, members of the crossbench and members of the backbench have an opportunity to carry out their task of scrutiny in the best possible way. The funding of this Assembly is under half the funding of any other Assembly. A great deal of credit for that is due to the Speaker, and the Speaker before him, and the Clerk. We also have, by miles, the most active committee system of any parliament in Australia. Members are committed to doing a huge amount of work here and they need support.

When the Administration and Procedure Committee, of which I am a member, sat down to consider what we were going to do about this $100,000-odd cut, we agonised over what was the way which would have the least impact on members. We came out with a decision on security. That is the way that is going to have the least impact on members.

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