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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 9 Hansard (23 November) . . Page.. 2527 ..

MS McRAE (continuing):

We hear, on the one hand, that we can run one line about the Speaker - "I am not going to chuck you out, Mr Speaker, but I want to dissent from your ruling" - but, on the other hand, we are not prepared to run the other line of, "I am not going to chuck you out, Mrs Carnell, but I want to dissent from your budget". May I say again that there are only six votes on this side; and 11 is bigger than six, always. Mr Moore has not yet heeded that lesson.

We are talking about a government that is prepared to lie and then perpetuate a lie. Every bit of lobbying that I have had has told me totally and clearly, and again and again - to use Mr Stevenson's favourite phrase - that the reason why we were thrown out of government was that the populace overwhelmingly believed that this Government would not cut funds to education. Mrs Carnell can put on that any spin that she likes, but I have had any number of people come to see me and say, "McRae, until your lot get their act together on education, you will never be voted in again. The reason why Mrs Carnell got her mandate was that education is a vital issue to this community. You - the Labor Party - failed. This Government promised to keep real funds". In the mind of every person who came to see me and to lobby me - every person who came to see me believed that - that meant no cuts. That is the position whichever way you look at it - and I have heard, as I say, all sorts of strange things.

It is 10 to three in the morning. There are drastic changes being made in our education system. The question comes, "Who on earth is making these decisions, and how can the Government put a gloss on them that they are just bureaucratic changes?". We have a Minister responsible for education who cannot even go through the list and say, "Ms McRae, no, no, no; we are not taking $1.5m out of the colleges".

Mr Stefaniak: We are not.

MS McRAE: We will see.

Mr Stefaniak: I was getting it on the record.

MS McRAE: We will see. Thank you. How is it that the secondary colleges are lobbying me and saying, "We are going to lose at least four teachers out of our college. We put up options to the Education Department to save money, and it did not take them, and we are going to lose four teachers."? Mr Stefaniak, you do not know what is happening in your own department. Why have the advisers gone from central office? We are told blithely, "Because their services have finished". It is not what the people on the ground believe. There is no replacement of those officers. Why am I getting lobbied about the drastic changes that have happened to these areas?

Who is making these decisions? What sort of a department are you running, Minister, when no-one knows why these cuts are being made, for what purpose, and what is happening in the education area? Minister, you do not know what is going on. If you do, this is your opportunity to spell it out. "We did not; we did not; we did not" is what we heard from Mrs Carnell tonight, probably more often than we heard that 11 is more

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