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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 6 Hansard (21 May) . . Page.. 1515 ..

MS McRAE: Of course you are taking it personally, perhaps because it stings; but it is the total Government's approach to this Assembly that I am talking about this morning, and I am not talking about any individual. I am talking about the collective approach of your Government to this Assembly. One day you refuse to answer questions and you mock members of this Assembly when they dare to ask questions. The next day you come before us and say, in a response to an estimates committee, that the primacy of the Assembly overrides all. If the primacy of the Assembly overrides all, why were we told three weeks ago, or more, that there were three areas where the money could come from, and, all of a sudden, lo and behold, it is all coming from one area? Your actions do not match your words. The hypocrisy of the claim has taken my breath away, and that of everybody else. We will feel much more comfortable about the Assembly being treated with some level of consideration and seriousness when we see this Government treat all of us with some consideration and seriousness.

MS FOLLETT (11.46): There are a couple of comments I would like to make, Mr Speaker, that are particularly relevant to this second Appropriation Bill. Mrs Carnell has got rid of so many of the CEOs in the ACT government service that corporate memory is a bit of a scarce resource anywhere in the government service, but I would like to remind members of what happened to the budget the last time the Liberals had the purse strings. It was a very tentative grip on the purse strings, Mr Speaker; nevertheless, we did have a Liberal Treasurer on one previous occasion.

Casting my mind back to the outcome of that 1990-91 budget, Mr Kaine's budget, there are two aspects that I would like to draw attention to. The first of those is that, in fact, that budget was the only budget ever to deliver a deficit on the recurrent side. I do not believe that that is an ambition that any other Treasurer should aspire to, but the fact of the matter, Mr Speaker, is that in addressing the 1990-91 budget outcome I said:

The Alliance Government was unable to contain recurrent expenditure within the estimated levels.

Mr Humphries: Mr Speaker, I rise to take a point of order. I am edified about the 1990-91 budget, but I am not sure what it has to do with an appropriation Bill for 1995-96.

MR SPEAKER: The question of relevance, under standing order 58, does need to be addressed. I uphold the point of order. I trust that you will come back to the debate.

MS FOLLETT: Mr Speaker, I am dealing with the question, of the Liberals' total inability to contain a budget. I think it is entirely relevant. Mr Speaker, the blow-out in health expenditure has contributed significantly to this outcome - that is, to the deficit in the recurrent budget.

Mr Humphries: Mr Speaker, I have to maintain the same point of order.

MR SPEAKER: I uphold the same point of order. Mr Humphries, I uphold your point of order. Standing order 58 states that members should not digress from the subject under question. It is difficult to imagine the 1990-91 budget having a relevance to the matter before the Chair at the moment.

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