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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 5 Hansard (26 August) . . Page.. 1412 ..

MR SPEAKER: Are members clear?

Mr Berry: No.

MR SPEAKER: The word "directs" is deleted and "request" is substituted. The amendment is coming around now.


Omit "directs the Government to continue", substitute "requests that the Government continues".

I will clarify that, Mr Speaker. The new motion will read:

That this Assembly requests that the Government continues to fund the Institute of the Arts at 1997-98 levels.

It basically is designed to remove the direction and replace it with a request, which is in line with what I said earlier, Mr Speaker.

MR WOOD (6.12): Mr Speaker, I am addressing the amendment, not closing the debate. That is my understanding.

MR SPEAKER: I understand. That is right.

MR WOOD: I will oppose the amendment. I understand where it comes from, but I am not sure how far a simple request will go. I should indicate at this stage that Ms Tucker is not here. Members know that she has been called away because her daughter has had a sudden operation. She would be speaking in support of my motion, and the Government has indicated that she could make her comments tomorrow. If I had a view on whatever votes come out of here tonight, I would seek to reraise the issue tomorrow, although the information I was getting was that the motion I have proposed was not going to get up.

I am happy for people on the crossbenches, two key people, to request the Government. I would be happier if they would require the Government. I have looked very carefully at the debates and the legal opinions in, I think, 1994, when Mr Moore amended the Labor Party education budget, and 1995, when Mr Moore again endeavoured, unsuccessfully on that occasion, to amend the budget. I have read the legal advice. I understand a lot of what was said then, but I believe it is possible and I will be trying to do this when the Appropriation Bill emerges here next week. I will be trying to vote no on the Chief Minister's line. It is entirely up to the Chief Minister as to how she accepts that. She could say, "This is a motion of confidence in me, you cannot change this", or she could walk away and say, "Well, we will see what we can manage. There is $96m, I think, in that budget line, and I think we might be able to manage to rework that $96m in order to accommodate this direction, this negative vote that we might be facing". It is possible to look at that.

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