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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 6 Hansard (2 September) . . Page.. 1827 ..

MR HIRD (continuing):

Something has to be done. One course is to look at getting greater sponsorship, which is very difficult in these hard times. I have noted what the Opposition said about how small business is going through difficult times. I do not believe that. I think small businesses are on the increase and are picking up, no thanks to them. They are picking up not only within the ACT but within the region, which is a credit to this Government and its close working relationship with the region.

Floriade is a celebration. As the Chief Minister said, if you go out for entertainment, you pay. If you go to the National Gallery to enjoy the artworks, it costs you money. Who introduced those charges at the National Gallery? Those opposite like to tie us in with our Federal colleagues, so I may as well take the opportunity of tying them in with their Federal colleagues, who suggested an entry charge for the War Memorial. As a former member of the armed services, I believe that was terrible. We are giving something back - - -

Mr Berry: I take a point of order, Mr Speaker. I would be happy one other day to talk about charges at the War Memorial, but it is a bit off the beaten track here.

MR SPEAKER: I think Mr Hird is making a comparison.

Mr Berry: When did that happen? It must have been a while ago.

MR SPEAKER: Let us put it this way: The 13 years of Labor, I suspect, are still within the living memory of most people.

Mr Kaine: I think Mr Hird's argument is that there should not be a charge, Mr Speaker. That is the only conclusion I can draw.

MR HIRD: My good friend the former Chief Minister says there should not be a charge. I agree that there should not be a charge. However, we cannot let this celebration of flowers drop away. You know and I know that tour operators have said that Floriade is deteriorating and is not up to expectations, so we have to do something about it. To the credit of the Chief Minister and the Minister for Urban Services, they have done something about it and it is going to cost.

If the lads across there, young Teddy and crew, wish to make it free, they should tell us where the money is going to come from. Is it going to come from education? No. Is it going to come from social welfare? No. Is it going to come from the moneys that go into the community services area? No. Mr Berry may well laugh at that, but we treat it very seriously because we like to balance our books. We have a legacy that was handed to us by those people across there, and we are attempting to balance the books to get us back into the black so that we can meet our obligations. They do not see it that way. They believe that we can go on spending and spending. They are prepared to leave the debt not just to their children but also to their grandchildren. They need to face up to realities. As I have said in this chamber many times, you have to pay for what you get. Much as we would like Floriade to be free, we are getting a great festival. I recommend that everyone go and see it. While this motion may have some merit, at the end of the day someone has to pay. I disagree with the Leader of the Opposition. Nothing is free.

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