Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 9 Hansard (23 November) . . Page.. 2476 ..
Mr Humphries: The survey was taken on a bus.
MR WHITECROSS: No, it was not. Once again, Mr Humphries, faced with contradiction of the propaganda, faced with the fact that he has been caught out and his Government has been caught out, engages in that famous propaganda technique with which we are all familiar, saying that the survey was conducted on a bus. It was not. It was conducted by telephone.
Mr Speaker, it does not matter how many amusing gestures they make over there. The fact is that they have been misrepresenting the facts about the commitment of the ACT community to ACTION buses. Fifty per cent of people said that they usually use ACTION once a week; 30 per cent said that they actually used ACTION once in the last week. Perhaps the 30 per cent is more accurate than the 50 per cent; but, either way, it is not 5 per cent. If you look at people who use it every day to get to work, it is still not 5 per cent; it is still over 10 per cent.
These people simply have not been able to tell the truth about the commitment of the public to ACTION. They have been using these falsehoods in order to run down the public transport system, in order to undermine the public transport system. Until very recently, Mrs Carnell and Mr De Domenico were running around, once again using that famous propaganda technique, saying that ACTION cost $1m a week. It does not cost $1m a week. The recurrent subsidy to ACTION is only $600,000 a week and going down. Once again, they cannot tell the truth about ACTION. They have to tell the public that it costs more. They have to tell the public that nobody uses it. They have to use that well-known propaganda technique because they have an agenda of running the ACT public transport into the ground. They want to justify their agenda, which is reducing the services and hopefully, in Mr De Domenico's brave new world, bringing in their friends from the private bus companies so that they can look after some of their mates. That is what they are about.
If they were really committed to a public transport system, they would be working their butts off to figure out ways of improving the public transport system, building on the strong commitment in the community to the public transport system by building on the customer base. That is not what he is doing. The customers say that they want one thing for off-peak services. Mr De Domenico gives them another thing. This is a bad line. The appropriation Mr De Domenico and Mrs Carnell have proposed for public transport for this year will have to result in a cut in services. It cannot be achieved without a cut in services, and we have already heard the stories to indicate that the cut is coming.
MS TUCKER (11.39): This Government has repeatedly failed to assure the Assembly that public transport services will not be reduced as a result of the cuts in the budget for ACTION. This is occurring at the same time as both business and community groups are saying that more and better services are required. We have a greenhouse crisis looming. We have a growing gap between the rich and the poor. At the same time, politicians, not just here, not just in Australia, but all around the world, keep on cutting and rationalising essential community services such as public transport on the grounds that they cost money to provide. This blind acceptance of economic rationalism not only ignores long-term interests; it is also misguided in the short term.