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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 5 Hansard (27 August) . . Page.. 1449 ..

Mr Berry: We started it, Harold. Don't be silly.

MR HIRD: There are many aspects of the Estimates Committee report and the attitudes of the committee chairman, Mr Berry, and his colleagues opposite so blatantly represented in the report that disturb me, not just as a member of this parliament but as an ordinary citizen of Canberra.

Mr Berry: A very ordinary citizen of Canberra.

MR HIRD: I believe I have covered those concerns in my dissenting report. I did not interject while Mr Berry was speaking, I must say.

MR SPEAKER: Interjections are out of order.

MR HIRD: I notice that he cannot help himself. I quote from an article in the Canberra Times of 20 June this year headed "Budget Comments":

If the Budget does attempt to reduce expenditure in some programs, the many critics who will step forward to voice their disapproval should have the decency to tell us how they would deal with the operating loss.

Guess who said that; who was the scribe? It was written by David Hughes, Associate Director of the Australian Centre for Regional and Local Government Studies at the University of Canberra, who was at that time a consultant to the ACT Labor Party. That is what he said.

In closing, Mr Speaker, I would like to quote from a great Canberran, a man that I met when I first came to Canberra - Stan Cusack, a retailer in Kingston. Stan Cusack said this to me, "Son, if you look after the pennies, the pounds will take care of themselves". That was a pretty wise statement. I commend my dissenting report.

MR RUGENDYKE (12.11): I will speak briefly. This first Estimates Committee hearing was for me, obviously, a very steep learning curve. I was quite happy to sit and listen and to take part where I could. But I also realised that the Estimates Committee does seem to be an opportunity for the Opposition to bash the Government. I suppose that is part of the process and, to that extent, it is a bit of a farce.

MS CARNELL (Chief Minister and Treasurer) (12.11): Mr Speaker, I think that Mr Rugendyke just hit the nail on the head. Unfortunately, Mr Rugendyke, that is not supposed to be the process. That is what the process was. Estimates committees are very important parts of the parliamentary process. They are an important part of the way we operate parliaments in this country. What do they do? What they do is scrutinise the budget, Mr Speaker. What did this Estimates Committee do? As Mr Rugendyke said, it bashed the Government on policy issues; not on the budget itself. I have to say, as Treasurer, and having sat through a day-and-a-half or whatever it was of the Estimates Committee - - -

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