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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 1 Hansard (29 April) . . Page.. 196 ..

MS CARNELL (Chief Minister and Treasurer) (5.45): I will speak very briefly on this because we really should get on with the work of the Assembly - if that is what we are here for. Initially I thought that maybe the trick, in an attempt to be efficient, was for us all to pull out our speeches from last time and incorporate them in Hansard so we could actually get on with the job. I think that in some ways that almost makes it too easy for the Labor Party.

In my time here I have been lobbied, as I am sure most of us have, on almost everything. I have been lobbied on potholes, on the length of grass and on trees. On everything that you could possibly imagine we have had a letter, or a phone call, or a meeting, or someone has spoken to us on all the occasions we are out in the community. Mr Speaker, I would like to have just a quick run around and ask: How many people have ever been lobbied on night sittings? I see there is one. I am just interested, Mr Speaker, because I have never, ever been. On an issue that costs money - and yes, it costs money - and on which over half of this Assembly have never had a letter, a phone call or any delegation at all, why would you spend money when nobody has indicated that they want it?

Mr Berry: Who indicated that you should sell ACTEW?

MS CARNELL: Nobody indicated; I have to say that the board of ACTEW has passed a resolution asking us to. So it is interesting, Mr Speaker - - -

Mr Berry: Who said they wanted the futsal slab? Was there a line-up of ordinary constituents? How many constituents?

MS CARNELL: A number of people. This is something that costs money, serves no obvious benefit, and we have never been lobbied on it in the whole time I have been here. You have to ask what this is about. If only I were able to be at home at 5 o'clock once, even once. Mr Speaker, have you been at home at 5 o'clock on - - -

Mr Stefaniak: No.

MS CARNELL: No, I have not either. Mr Speaker, this is not about getting home to Mr Berry's hot-water bottle or his electric blanket at 6 o'clock or whatever. We are all out there in the community at night or we are here; there is no doubt about that. The issue of how many hours we work is not the issue at all. The issue is how many hours a lot of our support people work, people who can - lucky them - be home with their families. It is not an issue for the members because we are out anyway. But it is an issue for support people; it is an issue for the people who work in the Assembly; it is an issue for the public servants who have to be here to back us up. All of that would be worth every cent if anyone wanted it, but nobody does. So why would you do it and why would you waste time in this place debating it?

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