Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 9 Hansard (23 November) . . Page.. 2544 ..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
Until members of the crossbenches demand that they be taken into account when creating budgets we will be ignored by the major parties. We have all had bad experiences. For example, it appears that Mr Moore believed that he had an arrangement with the Government on the education budget; that arrangement was broken. Mr Osborne believed that he had an agreement with the Government over an issue related to ACTEW; that agreement was broken. We would remind Mr Osborne that, if he had supported the committee, then he would have been much more likely to have his requirements met.
Why does this Government, and perhaps the Opposition, too, believe that it can operate in a vacuum, ignoring the ideas and wishes of the crossbenches? Because this Government believes that it has an inalienable right to do what it wants, because it says that more people voted for it than voted for the Labor Party. It believes that it should, and must, bring down its own budget without consultation with or reference to any other member in this place. The reality is that no party received over 50 per cent of the vote and that a great number of people voted for the members of the crossbenches. That is irrelevant to the Government. It believes that it should be allowed to do what it wants, no matter what the cost.
The Greens believe that this is an antiquated view that is not relevant to this place. Prior to the election, Mrs Carnell expressed exactly the same sentiment. Mrs Carnell, in a speech this morning, talked of the consultation that had occurred in the lead-up to the budget. It was consultation in a vacuum. Real consultation occurs before, during and after; not just at the beginning, without any knowledge of the Government's objectives and priorities. Further, she said that we had access to regular briefings. This is true; we have had access. We appreciate receiving it. But good briefings are only part of the consultative process. We believe that better outcomes can be and have been achieved on issues like sport in schools because of constructive input from many members of this place. However, we have not been offered those opportunities with the budget, with the result that we are seeing today a great deal of dissatisfaction.
I listened with increasing incredulity to Mr Humphries's speech on citizens-initiated referendums. In his speech Mr Humphries talked about how society is demanding participation and how well the Government is responding. This Government cannot even offer participative processes to the other 10 members of this place.
MR SPEAKER: This is very wide-ranging, Ms Tucker.
Mr De Domenico: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: We are supposed to be debating the title of the budget Bill. Ms Tucker is now talking about citizens-initiated referenda.
MR SPEAKER: I must uphold the point of order, Ms Tucker. We are debating the title of the Bill. You must relate your comments to it.
MS TUCKER: Do we sit back and say that it is okay for the Government to mislead members of this place as regards education?
Mr Moore: Are the procedures leading to appropriations reasonable?