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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 9 Hansard (21 November) . . Page.. 2233 ..

Mr De Domenico: Except on the fifth floor.

MRS CARNELL: That is right; except on the fifth floor, where they had a person who sat at the desk making sure that the fifth floor was well protected. It was a pity about everyone else. I think the issue here is that everybody has to be judged on the same basis. That is the way we put together this budget. The members of this Legislative Assembly are being treated in exactly the same way as all other people getting services as a result of the expenditure of taxpayers' money.

MS TUCKER (4.46): There are another couple of points I would like to make, apart from the many that have been made. I would have to say once again that after listening to Mrs Carnell through the election campaign I was impressed by her commitment to committees and the work of the committees. I did not realise that once we were in this place, because of the undue haste with which her Government has tried to introduce major changes to a lot of services to the community, we would have to be resorting to committee inquiries on so many issues, and there are a couple more coming up now. We are already overstretched and it is going to get worse, judging by the way it is going, because it appears that that is going to be the only way to influence what this Government is doing. We obviously cannot do it through the budget process.

I agree, as a member of the Administration and Procedure Committee, that the decision to cut security was a difficult decision, but the point is: What do we value most? Considering the ability of this place to operate in a democratic system where we have a committee system that works - as I said, the committee system is going to be needed more and more - we had no choice but to choose security. Mrs Carnell says that that was our choice. Indeed it was, and I think we made the best choice; but to lay the blame at our door if we are not happy with that choice is totally unethical. It has extremely worrying implications for such issues as school-based management. We are going to have a government which hands over a lump of money to a school. If the school does not do too well the Government will say, "Oh, you are not a very good financial manager. It is your fault".

The other issue I would like to raise is that everybody has not been cut equally. I do not see that the business section was cut. You have already stated other areas. There was an increase in funding to the arts as well. So you cannot say that it has happened right across the board. I think this is not a sign that Mrs Carnell has a real respect for the processes of this place and wishes to see that they continue to work efficiently. As for the swipe cards, we do not want to be treated differently from everybody else. We did get a request to have some more swipe cards issued. I would like to do that for my children, who sometimes miss the bus, in order that they can get in here. They are outside and they cannot contact me. There could be a very large number of swipe cards issued here. If that is appropriate security in her view, it is not the view of a lot of other members here. We in the Administration and Procedure Committee are seeking a solution to this problem, but it is not easy.

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