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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 9 Hansard (21 November) . . Page.. 2238 ..

MR CONNOLLY (5.01): I want to come into this debate briefly because there was a clever little piece of sophistry from Mr Humphries earlier that I can see the Government seizing on, particularly as we have spent a little time this afternoon debating this program. That was Mr Humphries's shot at each and every member here, Opposition and crossbench, in saying, "You are just being selfish and focusing on your own budget". I think he said he hoped that the press were noticing that members were all getting upset about their own budget. That was a cheap shot, Mr Humphries, but a very misleading shot.

The point that members are making about this arbitrary cut by the Chief Minister to the budget for this Assembly is not that we should have more for allowances, cars, staff, telephones or travel. What we are saying is that you are locking the public out of this building. That is the absurdity of this budget cut that you have imposed. How surreal, Mr Speaker, in the period before daylight saving, in the glowering gloom of about 6 o'clock, it is to see the head of the administration or other senior officers having to scamper through the doors when a member or a member of staff from inside happens to be leaving. We have been running a bit of a sweep in the Opposition rooms to see who is going to be the first person to get caught in the fishbowl between the outside door and the inside door as somebody tries to scamper through. Senior officers will get good exercise through getting their timing right to make their little dash and step to get through the two doors, which can be a problem. Some senior officers can get around that by using their mobiles. It is another common sight in the growing darkness outside, to see people furiously - - -

Mr Humphries: The glowering gloom.

MR CONNOLLY: Yes, the gathering gloom. We see people dashing away to their mobiles to get ministerial office staff to come down and let them in. That is all right for senior officers because they have their mobile phones; but, if a member of the public, who during the hours from nine to five has to devote their energies and attentions to paying the mortgage and is out there working and earning a crust, wants to come in and see a member, they have to stand in the corridor here or out the front and throw pebbles against the window in the vain hope that they can attract the attention of a member who will come down and let them in.

Mr Berry: Do not throw it at the Greens' offices. The windows will be open and they might hit somebody.

MR CONNOLLY: Yes. Colleagues, you may wish at least to get some flyscreen across your windows, or not sit doing any work near the windows. It is, Mr Speaker, absurd. It is insulting not to members of the Assembly so much as to the public who pay our salaries, who provide the taxes to fund this place. The shot from Mr Humphries that members are just looking after themselves in grizzling about division 10, and that that is somehow selfish politicians trying to feather their own nests - that was the sort of - - -

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