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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 5 Hansard (26 August) . . Page.. 1409 ..

MR BERRY (continuing):

many in the community have about your role and your rusted-on relationship with this Government. You should be supporting the recommendations that you supported in the Estimates Committee without any arm-twisting. It was not as if you had to have your arms twisted up your back to support these recommendations. You supported them warmly and, one would think, in good faith on the basis of the evidence that was put to the committee by the people from the arts when they gave evidence to the committee. It was a good submission and it deserved the recognition that the recommendations gave it. They were deserving recommendations.

I understand that Mr Rugendyke said he is not going to vote for this. He has an opportunity to redeem himself. It will be a great slug on the development of our culture if he wavers on this issue. It shows disinterest and, I guess, a level of dishonesty if he does not support this motion.

MR RUGENDYKE: I seek leave to speak again, Mr Speaker.

Leave granted.

MR RUGENDYKE: Thank you, members. I do not think it is any secret, Mr Speaker, that I have said that I would allow this budget to pass. Having said that, I do not think it intentional that Mr Wood framed his motion in terms that he knew that I would not be able to support. I still offer support for the music industry. Had the motion been one that I could have supported, I would have been happy to. As I say, I do not believe that Mr Wood intended to put me in this spot when framing his motion.

Mr Corbell: You can always amend the motion.

MR OSBORNE (6.03): Mr Corbell interjects and says we can amend the motion. I may well do that so that it says, "This Assembly requests the Government to continue to fund the Institute of the Arts at 1997-98 levels". I always find it interesting when I am in this place, Mr Speaker, to hear somebody like Mr Berry talk about being popular. Of all the people in here to give advice on being popular, I would have thought that he would be the last one to get up and speak. It is very easy for the Labor Party and other members of the crossbench to be able to make decisions on this when the reality is that this is - - -

Mr Kaine: It is no easier than for you. It is no easier than for you, Paul. You can make decisions, too.

MR OSBORNE: Mr Kaine says it is no easier for me. I recall that back in 1995 we attempted to amend the budget or do something similar to this. I think the issues were education, something to do with nurses, and the Greens had something else. Both major parties came in with legal advice saying it was unconstitutional and that effectively the money is controlled by the Executive. That is the reality, Mr Speaker. The system of government that we have, the system that we have in this place, is such that Cabinet decides how the money is spent. I do not know that anyone on the other side can disagree. Effectively, if we supported this motion, we would be forcing the Government to spend money in a certain way. The members of the Labor Party, people who have been here a lot longer than I have, realise that that is not the way that things operate in here.

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