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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 5 Hansard (27 August) . . Page.. 1493 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

I want to make another point before I conclude. I notice that the Chief Minister is not here, but maybe she is listening upstairs, although I doubt it, but it is on the record. Yesterday, when I was here for the early part of the debate, I noticed that when Mr Wood was talking Mrs Carnell was mocking him because he was talking about the heartfelt concerns of the community. Mrs Carnell put her hands to her heart in a mocking way. I found that incredibly inappropriate and offensive. I was interested to find on my email yesterday morning a letter from a constituent. I would like to read the last part of it because it relates to heart:

... you can have my vote in the next election, if and only if you vote against the cut to the Institute of the Arts.

Naturally, that seems a comparatively small matter on which to decide the entire election (it's only $1.6 million, after all) ... What about urban services? What about the environment? What about health? As I see it, this is a kind of indicator: if an MLA values the views of their people enough, and values the cultural life of the city enough, I believe I can trust them with bigger issues such as the environment, health and so on.

If I can trust you with the heart of Canberra, then I can trust you with the rest of it. Canberra is a wonderful city - I trust each and every one of you will do your duty to keep it that way.

Mr Wood, I am absolutely appalled at how the debate went yesterday. I am appalled that Mrs Carnell is acting as if she has a majority government on this. Obviously, Mr Rugendyke and Mr Osborne have been lobbied on this. I believe they have a genuine concern about what has happened to the arts, but because they are not willing to challenge the Government on this issue Mrs Carnell appears to be able to be totally arrogant about how she manages this.

When Mr Wood asked her - not commanded, not directed but asked - to please consider what she is doing with this cut, once again there was a mocking response from Mrs Carnell, basically saying, "Forget it. There is no way you would get back $1.6m".

In conclusion, I want to say that I believe the community does care about this a lot. Even if this Government does not care about the arts, I know they care about votes and they should know that they will pay for this.

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