Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 5 Hansard (26 August) . . Page.. 1403 ..
MR KAINE (continuing):
I have some difficulty with Mr Wood's proposition in its present form because it is totally uncompromising. I am not even sure, on the face of it, that it represents what the Institute of the Arts and the School of Music would be seeking, but I am going to support it because I have indicated to those institutions that I do support their ongoing funding, and this is the only motion before the house at the moment. Nobody, not even the Government, has attempted to amend this motion.
I am indicating that I will support the motion because I think the message needs to be conveyed to the Government by this place that we do not support the arbitrary application of decisions in budgeting or anywhere else, and this appears to be quite arbitrary and, at the end of the day, quite harmful to programs which are undertaken by these institutions on behalf of the Government and which have value for the community. So, I am quite prepared to support Mr Wood's motion on that basis, while having some reservations about whether it might have been worded in a slightly different way to give the parties concerned some flexibility; but that is a matter we can take up after the budget is debated and passed. We can consider what the long-term requirement of this place is in terms of government funding of these institutions.
MR CORBELL (5.40): Mr Speaker, I rise to support the motion moved by my colleague Mr Wood, and to also endorse a number of the comments made by the previous speaker. Before I do that I want to reflect on something which I consider to be of great concern. It comes down to the point of opportunities not yet lost and keeping faith. I direct these comments through you, Mr Speaker, to Mr Rugendyke, who spoke earlier. Like Mr Rugendyke, I am relatively new to the issue of the arts in the ACT, at least in my role as a member of this place. Like Mr Rugendyke, I have found it enjoyable to be invited to many of the great functions, events, concerts and other things which we all, as members of this place, get invited to from time to time. Since the Government's decision to cut funding to the Institute of the Arts I have been exposed to the most amazing diversity of people and activities related to arts and music in this city.
One of my most enjoyable exposures was to attend a rehearsal of the Canberra Youth Orchestra where I was given the opportunity to take the baton. They continued to play while ignoring my attempts to conduct them. It was a wonderful opportunity and is something I will always remember about being in this place. The sound and the quality that came from that orchestra was, to me, overwhelming. People as young as 12 or 13, right through to people as old as 27 or 28, were there. They are there every Saturday morning, rehearsing, and they gave us the opportunity - - -
Mr Wood: And who is teaching them?
MR CORBELL: Who is teaching them? As Mr Wood quite rightly points out, the people teaching them are people who are employed by the Institute of the Arts. That probably could not take place if the Institute of the Arts has its funding cut.
I raise this issue, Mr Speaker, not just because it was an enjoyable experience for me. Mr Rugendyke was also at that event. Mr Rugendyke took the opportunity to indicate his support for this issue by conducting the orchestra in a very loud cacophony of noise, objecting to the Chief Minister's cut to the institute. I think everyone there quite seriously and sincerely thought that that meant that Mr Rugendyke was going to do