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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 5 Hansard (26 August) . . Page.. 1396 ..

MR RUGENDYKE (5.12): Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, since coming to this place a short time ago I have been exposed to a lot of the things that we are talking about here today. Prior to the election I had not been to the theatre, I had not been to a symphony concert, and I had not been to whatever it is they do at opera. But, since March, I have been invited to a lot of lovely things that I have become quite hooked on, and I can see the value of the arts in this community. I, too, would like to see the level of funding restored to these community groups that provide the arts, the music and the theatre that we are talking about. I have spoken at length to participants in the industry, to Nicollette Fraillon, David Williams and others, about their situation and I totally sympathise with what they are going through. I know that they are up until 4.00 am and 5.00 am trying to fit what they do into the boxes that the bureaucrats are trying to fit it all into. It is probably fair to say that a lot of what they have to do to fit into the purchaser-provider model of economics cannot be quantified. How do you value the benefit that a child gets from learning the violin? I do not know, and I am sure that is part of the problem. The Institute of the Arts and the School of Music cannot fit those sorts of things into the purchaser-provider model.

Also, since being elected to the Assembly, and during this budget process, I have stated that I will allow the budget to pass. It is something that I have said straight up and I cannot waiver from that. I see it as a responsible stance that I owe to my electorate. So, since this motion is tied to the budget, it is a proposal that I am unable to support. That is unfortunate.

I know that negotiations are continuing between the Government and the people involved. I can only hope and trust that those negotiations are genuine and serious negotiations, and that funding to a level that is acceptable to the community and to the people involved is reached. Funding should meet the needs of our community, our kids, and people like me who are enjoying what the School of Music and the School of the Arts are offering. As I said, it is with regret that I am unable to support the motion moved by Mr Wood.

Mr Hargreaves: Change your mind, Dave. No-one is going to bag you for it.

Mr Humphries: It is a budget matter, John.

MR TEMPORARY DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! Mr Rugendyke has the call.

MR RUGENDYKE: Thank you, Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker. That is it, thank you.

MR QUINLAN (5.17): Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, first of all I would say to Mr Rugendyke that I think an apology should go beyond this chamber to the people who thought for some considerable time that they had his support and who entertained and regaled him with their talents.

I have asked around this town to try to discover what precipitative event might have occurred to cause this change, this somewhat unheralded change, in the funding of the arts. I wondered whether they had committed some sin like the Southern Cross Club had committed in exercising free speech and therefore should have been chastised for it. Thus far I have not found the event, but I am sure there is a deeper explanation.

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