Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 2 Hansard (20 May) . . Page.. 388 ..
MR CORBELL (12.19): I think the problem here is not the new face of Labor; it is the old face of the Liberal Party whereby, whenever there is a constructive approach from this side of the house, all we cop is a load of abuse, a load of derision and a load of pretence and self-congratulation rather than an acknowledgment that they do not have a monopoly on good ideas.
Mr Speaker, Mr Hargreaves's proposition is a sensible one. In fact, what Mr Hargreaves wants is to see the job done properly. As my colleague says quite clearly and quite appropriately, the Government have gone only halfway, and that is why Mr Hargreaves is entirely justified in moving this motion in the Assembly today. When a Minister refuses to deal with an issue appropriately, it is the appropriate role of the Opposition to draw attention to the failing and to urge a better approach. Mr Speaker, quite clearly, there are a number of very important issues which Mr Hargreaves has raised in this debate and which the Minister has failed to address. The most important one is a whole-of-picture approach to the issue of the review of school bus services - not merely a review, but a whole-of-picture approach to the review of school bus services.
I noticed that the Minister relied on something that was completely irrelevant to the debate to try to justify his argument, which means he probably did not have much to say in the first place. Mr Speaker, I want to put on the record the debate about ACTTAB. I do not know how buses and ACTTAB relate, Mr Smyth. Somehow you brought it into the debate. I want to correct the allegation made. Mr Speaker, in the debate Mr Smyth made a very crude, and I think completely baseless, accusation against the Labor Party. Basically, he suggested that the Labor Party wanted the Chief Minister to table documents that she had allegedly provided to us in a briefing that the Chief Minister gave in relation to ACTTAB. It is quite clear that this is the same document that the Chief Minister herself released to the media in the ACT, but refused to table in the Assembly. I draw Mr Smyth's attention to the similar approach that the Chief Minister has adopted in relation to the capital works budget, where she provides it to the media before she provides it to some members of this place. I think Mr Smyth needs to be a little careful when entering these debates and making allegations against the Labor Party in relation to documents. He should have a look at what is happening down the other end of the bench.
Mr Speaker, Mr Hargreaves's proposition is a sensible one. Mr Hargreaves's proposition says that we want a wide, overarching review of school bus services. We do not want the Government to continue with a piecemeal approach. We certainly do not want the Government to continue to get away with the sorts of broken promises that it got away with, say, in 1995, with free school bus services. Do you remember that one? I think that the Government's approach on this issue has been inconsistent. The Government seems to have rediscovered public transport only in the last six months. We welcome the steps that have been taken so far, but we very much want to see this review undertaken appropriately. That is why Mr Hargreaves has moved the motion he has moved in the Assembly today. It is a sensible approach and I urge members of this place to support it.
MR OSBORNE (12.23): I rise briefly to speak to Mr Smyth's amendment. I will be moving my own amendment a little later. Mr Speaker, I do not think I will be supporting Mr Smyth's amendment giving everybody a pat on the back when they have not done anything yet. The issue of school buses has been one that I have been involved in for a long time. We became convinced way back in 1996 of the need for a review.