Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 9 Hansard (21 November) . . Page.. 2234 ..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
The other point is that according to her budget we have another $200,000 to find. This has very serious implications for the ability of this place to work effectively, particularly - I say it once again - because of the increasing need for us to use the committee system, which is a good thing anyway, although I think the reason for having to do so is not very encouraging.
MS McRAE (4.49): What I find absolutely amazing about this debate, Mr Speaker, is the constant assertion by Mrs Carnell that we do not know what anything costs and from now on we will do a bottom up budget. With regard to the Assembly, we do know what everything costs. We knew that there was less than $100,000 in discretionary funding. We had every detail. It is one of the most detailed budgets presented anywhere. As Speaker for each of the three years, those details were always there before the Assembly committee. It was absolutely clear what every single item of expenditure was about. This just happens to be the first of all the items that we are going to debate, but I think this encapsulates Mrs Carnell's approach to budgeting all over. She has some delusion that we do not know. We do know. The education sector is going to lose 36 teachers. They know very well what $1.5m equals in the secondary colleges. A furphy is being perpetrated that somehow this Territory is run without our knowing what our services are, how much we pay for our services, and what we choose to spend our money on. It is a nonsense and it is no more clearly encapsulated than in this budget for the Assembly.
When Mr Moore stood up and spoke I was reminded of the days when we removed pot plants, when we took away Christmas cards, and when we reduced travel to economy class. We were pared back, along with everything else. After representations at the Estimates Committee and after representations from the Administration and Procedure Committee, what did I do? I represented the views of the Assembly through the Administration and Procedure Committee to the then Chief Minister, who re-examined the very detailed budget that we had, with every single service itemised, dollar for dollar, as is every single service across this Territory itemised, dollar for dollar, and we then improved the level of money for the Assembly.
This nonsense about there being dining rooms and this and that in other parliaments is all irrelevant. This Government has no pride in this Assembly or in the services that are offered to the people of Canberra through the Government. We keep hearing about how we do not know what we are paying for, instead of hearing, "Look at what a fantastic education service we have; look at what a fantastic health service we have; look at what a fantastic library service we have; look at what we need to preserve". This Assembly is part of that overall picture which this Government has taken no pains whatsoever to ensure is protected along with all the other people that I spoke about earlier who need their protection.
I know that it is very galling for Mr Moore and for many others that we cannot amend this budget; but what is at essence here today is to show how this Government does not listen and, what is worse, does not understand what it is dealing with. It comes at it from entirely the wrong end of things, and this Assembly budget encapsulates that. Instead of beginning by saying, "What does this service do? Whom does it do it for? How does it compare with other services?", as we have done with the Assembly budget in the past,