Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 3 Hansard (27 May) . . Page.. 669 ..
MR OSBORNE (4.43), in reply: Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, I rise to close this debate. I thank some members for their contributions. I understand the embarrassment on the part of the Labor Party in not wanting to talk about the overall debt problem within the ACT because, for their part, they are probably responsible for most of it. So I do understand their reluctance to talk about it, Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker. At no stage during my political career have I stood up and said that I was the alternative government. However, there are a couple of points that I would like to bring forward and I thought that I would outline them. I think I need to make myself plain on this issue. I said at the outset of this debate that there is still room to move in cutting expenditure; but, as I said, we have used up almost all of the easy options. I said also that our areas of overspending are well documented and are all protected by the high walls and razor wire of lobby groups. They are also often protected by the Opposition, or sometimes even the crossbenchers.
Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, I think the time has come to take a long hard look at every program and every agency. During the election campaign I raised the overspending in education administration and how important it was not to rule out school amalgamations. I would have thought that was a reasonably courageous decision. I did not notice a lot of other members rushing to support me, even though what I said was demonstrably true. In my speech I said that we should also look at spending in health and housing. I said that we had to find savings and that I am willing to offer my support to a government that finds them. But, most of all, I have not ruled out the sale of assets on ideological grounds. I am prepared to consider any option if that is the only answer to, particularly, our superannuation liability problem. I pray that there is another way, Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, but if I am convinced it is the only way I will not shirk it.
Unlike the ALP, I do not have the luxury of opposing something. All I hope in my heart of hearts is that the decision is made in spite of me. I am sure there are members over there thinking, "Thank God we are not in government. Thank God it is not me making the decision. Thank God I can sit over here and oppose it for the sake of opposing it and not really come up with any alternatives". Anyway, Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, I thank all members for their involvement in this debate, and I am pleased that all members are going to support the motion.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
MR OSBORNE (4.46): I move:
That, until the Federal Government gives the ACT Government a commitment to proceed with the appointment of a Police Commissioner for the ACT, no new contractual arrangement be entered into.
I am considering making my call for an ACT police commissioner an annual event - or even a public holiday; but, given the Government's views on public holidays, I do not know whether I would have their support for it. When I was preparing this motion today,