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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 3 Hansard (27 May) . . Page.. 677 ..

Rural Residential Development : Civic Square Fountain : Motor Vehicle Registration Fees

MR BERRY (5.12): Mr Speaker, I want to rise and express the strongest opposition to the adjournment of the house at this point. There are extremely important matters before this chamber which the Administration and Procedure Committee agreed should go on today's program of business. It is most important this evening that Labor get to the issue of the Hall/Kinlyside rural residential development. It is very clear that the Government does not want to get to that. They delayed proceedings in the earlier debate on a motion under private members business to ensure that we never got to this matter, because there is just so much embarrassment and so much smell about it that they do not want it to be discussed anymore. Mr Speaker, we are not going to agree to this adjournment. The whips have discussed this and your Whip has been informed that we do not agree to this adjournment. This is private members business, and we do not want the Government interfering in our right to deal with these important issues which have been programmed for today. We will be voting against the motion.

Mr Speaker, it is unusual for the Government to step in over private members business without the agreement of the Opposition. In fact, this rarely, if ever, occurs. The Government is now saying that we cannot discuss this - not because it is late at night or early in the morning, but because the Government does not want to discuss it, because it is embarrassing. They have been caught out badly on this one. It smells and there is more to be said. The two Liberal members from that area are humiliated and embarrassed by the Government's performance. They do not want to talk about it. They do not want to hear about it again. I saw the most pathetic performance from MLAs in relation to this matter - - -

MR SPEAKER: Mr Berry, do not debate the issue. Be careful.

MR BERRY: That was at a meeting with Hall residents earlier on. It demonstrates how embarrassed the Government is about dealing with the business on the notice paper. I am appalled that the Government would seek to ride roughshod over the wishes of private members to debate issues of significant community interest. It is just a sign of how weak and gutless they are when it comes to openness and consultation, notwithstanding their continuous bleating on the matter.

There are another couple of issues I want to raise in this debate. The first is that members will be surprised, if they look outside, to see that the fountain is working. One wonders how much damage was done by bringing it into service in the election campaign and how much it cost to fix it as a result of Mr Humphries's urgency to get it working. The other issue is that today the Government was out proudly promoting that it was going to put up rego fees again by another $1.50 and third-party insurance by $9. The $1.50 is just another tax. I also learnt today that the Government has been promoting its sensitivity and, to make it easier for everybody to register their car in small grabs, people can register their car for six months at a time. But, if battlers want to do that, it is going to cost them an extra $80. What a joke! Mr Speaker, I return to the motion to adjourn.

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