Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 9 Hansard (23 November) . . Page.. 2522 ..
MR WHITECROSS (continuing):
I do not accept that that is a valid way to go about business. We have a parliamentary institution here in the ACT which operates in the same way as parliamentary institutions in other places. I do not accept that it is not justiciable. We have a different view on that subject, and Mr Connolly's opinion expresses that different view. Even if Mr Moore's opinion is right and it is not justiciable, that is not an excuse for doing the wrong thing. That is not an excuse for undermining the self-government Act as it is written, and our standing orders as they are written, and the enormous weight of opinion about what the self-government Act means.
I think that the business of rewriting rules is a dangerous one. It is a temptation to which people on the crossbenches are sometimes particularly prone, but it is not a temptation into which we should fall. There is a right way of doing things and a wrong way of doing things. Mr Moore earlier outlined the procedure that was followed in 1993 - first the motion calling on the Government, then the censure motion, then the amendment to the budget. We have clarified now that amendment to the budget is not allowed. Interestingly, it was Mr Moore who supported the adjournment of the censure motion, which really should have been debated and voted on before the budget as part of that process which he said occurred in 1993 to put pressure on the Labor Party. He has chosen not to follow the same path to put pressure on the Government now. We believe he should have. We moved the motion on purpose to give him an opportunity to put that pressure on the Government. We are disappointed that he did not follow it, that he sought instead to adjourn the motion. We again offer him the opportunity to vote against this line, to put the pressure on the Government. We offer him the opportunity to change his negotiating position from one of saying, "Whatever you do I will vote for your item.", to saying, "Mrs Carnell, we mean business. If you do not change, you are in trouble".
MRS CARNELL (Chief Minister and Treasurer) (2.30 am): Mr Speaker, a budget is not just a whole lot of single line items. It all goes together. It relies on prioritising different items. It relies on living within one's means. The reason why I believe strongly that a vote against this single line in this budget would be a matter of confidence in this Government - in other words, the sort of thing that would mean that the Government would resign - is that it is not one line of a budget; it is a budget as a whole. It is the position that we have taken and, to my knowledge, every other government has always taken when it comes to a budget. If this line or, for that matter, any other line of the budget were defeated, the Government would have no choice but to resign. I think that goes without saying.
You cannot look at a single line on its own. We have put this budget together in a way that we believe is fair and just, with the money that we had at our disposal. I would love to spend lots more money on health, lots more money on education, and lots more money on police, but we just do not have the money. We are not willing to put more and more money on the ACT Bankcard and to run up a bigger and bigger debt for our kids. We do not believe that is appropriate. We believe that we should be spending the money we have in the wisest way possible.