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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 9 Hansard (21 November) . . Page.. 2239 ..

Mr Humphries: That is about right, yes.

MR CONNOLLY: "That is about right", he says. No, this is not about allowances for politicians, for members of this place; this is about an absurd decision by the Government which results in locking the public out of this building at 5.00 pm. Locking it at 6 o'clock at least would allow people on their way home to pop in, to see their member and to express their grievance. In trying to say why the Estimates Committee might have it wrong, Mrs Carnell said, "Of course, we do not have electorate offices". No, we do not have electorate offices - at a considerable saving to the ratepayer, but at inconvenience. Our offices are here. If you happen to work in Tuggeranong or Belconnen you have absolutely no hope of getting in to see your member before the shutters come down at 5 o'clock. I say that deliberately because we now have great big steel shutters that do come down at the entry point. If you are in the know you lurk about waiting for the doors to open and then make your little dash because you know that the doors are going to close. If an unsuspecting member of the public saw that and wandered in, then thought, "Oh, I have left my keys", or, "Have I left my lights on in my car?", and stopped for a minute, they would be trapped. They would be trapped within the doors. It is absurd, Mr Speaker.

We laugh about it because it is so absurd, but it is a serious point and one that members are entitled to make. This arbitrary cut by the Executive Government, quite contrary, as Mr Moore pointed out, to their view about these things when they were in opposition, is an insult not to members of this Assembly - we have broad shoulders and we can cop insults from the Government - but to every elector in Canberra whom this Government is shutting out from seeing their members.

MR DE DOMENICO (Minister for Urban Services) (5.07): Mr Speaker, my contribution will be brief, too, but I thought I should stand up and talk about what Mr Connolly just said. When he starts raving on about it being an insult to every elector, I think he is taking the political language a bit too far. As someone who was locked out at 5 o'clock a couple of weeks ago, I had the temerity - - -

Mr Berry: You could have slithered under the door.

MR DE DOMENICO: That was a good comment, was it not, from the snake oil salesman? First I had a look at the rock, but you were not under that Mr Berry, so I decided to go for a walk. I had the temerity to suggest that I should come out and have a breath of fresh air after 5 o'clock one night and found that I could not get back in. Unfortunately, when I threw the rock at the window it did miss the Greens' offices. It might have gone straight through and hit someone. I literally had to pick up a piece of stone and try to attract somebody's attention in order to get back into the building. I could not go home because my car keys were in my office. I agree with you, Mr Connolly, that, whoever made the decision to shut the doors at 5 o'clock, it was a stupid, silly decision. Anyone who does not agree with that is suggesting something that is stupid and silly.

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