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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 9 Hansard (23 November) . . Page.. 2528 ..

MS McRAE (continuing):

than six. The reality is that the people who come to talk to us, the people who talk to Mr Moore, the people in the education system who talk to anybody, believe that they have lost advisers unnecessarily from the central office; that they are going to lose at least five teachers from every secondary college; and that there are more cuts to come.

Mr Moore produced a piece of paper, but we were given most of those details in the estimates process. We were given a list of changes that were to happen, which were the clear result of there being insufficient money. We have the Chief Minister telling us that everything we have heard, all the lobbying that has happened, everyone who speaks to us is wrong, wrong, wrong; that this $3.8m - now we find a $4.7m shortfall - is wrong, wrong, wrong; and this is a generous government. This is not good enough.

I urge Mr Moore to apply the same logic to the Chief Minister as he did to the Speaker, to use this opportunity to say, "We will not accept this". There is no constitutional basis for Mrs Carnell to throw a tantrum about loss of confidence. We have seen perpetually that there are 11 votes to six votes; and that is the clear separation of power within this chamber. No matter what anybody tries to say, we go back to the first lesson that Michael Moore gave to the Greens and that I repeated earlier, namely, that this Assembly is about numbers and that these numbers are absolutely important. The whole basis of how anything is decided here is by majority vote. The numbers are quite clear; the choices are quite clear; this Government is wriggling every possible way it can.

The Minister clearly does not know what is going on; the Chief Minister is trying to put a spin on what thousands upon thousands of people believe to be different; and it is a great pity that we do not have a constitution like other parliaments have, where this sort of drama would trigger an election, because I would dearly love her to go to an election right now and tell the people, "Yes; when I said that education funding was going to be maintained, I really meant a $4.7m cut". I would dearly love that to be taken to the people tomorrow because, if what I am told is true, one of the major reasons for shifts in alliances was our record in education. I am ready to accept that. But they did not shift because they thought that this Government was going to take out $4.7m and then not face up to it. We at least said, up front, "Yes; we are cutting 80 teachers, and this is the reason why". We paid a price for that. This Government goes to the electorate and says, "We will retain education funding". It then cuts funding by $4.7m. I would dearly love to have an election tomorrow and test it, because you would fail the test dismally.

MR WHITECROSS (2.56 am): There is one key thing that Mrs Carnell has been saying.

Government members interjected.

MR WHITECROSS Mr Speaker, are you running this parliament or not?

MR SPEAKER: Order! As long as you stay at Division 180, Mr Whitecross.

MR WHITECROSS: I certainly will be staying at Division 180, Mr Speaker, because I want to pick up on what Mr Moore was saying about the fact that there has been a $4.7m cut in education funding - - -

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