Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 6 Hansard (2 September) . . Page.. 1829 ..
MR STANHOPE (continuing):
aspire to, dream about and want to do with their lives. If this is the philosophy that is driving the Government in terms of whether or not to charge for Floriade, then I was making the point that this appals me. The motivating sentiment is that the people of Canberra will not value Floriade because they do not have to pay to enter. That is just a nonsense. It is puerile. It is an insult to the intelligence of anybody in this place. I think it is relevant that I stand to make that point.
There are a range of other points that could be made about Floriade. They go beyond the decision to charge. They go to the process. They go to this town's emotional attachment to its parks and to the fact that we are an open garden city. We do not like the physical barrier of a fence around Floriade. The people of this town have gained some ownership of this floral festival. The Government's process in introducing this fee rides roughshod over all those feelings, all those emotions and that attachment and ownership which the people of this town have. The people of Canberra have been ignored in this process. They have been treated with contempt once again. This is the style of this Government. It is autocratic and non-consultative. It likes to ram things through, saying, "See if I care. Up yours, Jack". We on this side are simply suggesting that this is not good enough.
MR KAINE (7.56): The Government no doubt will be gratified, and my colleagues in the Opposition will be disappointed, that I do not support this motion. My colleagues on the crossbenches must be very confused. When they had some real issues to send a message to the Government about in the last couple of days, they went weak at the knees and declined to do it. I do not think this is the issue to be trying to send a message to the Government on, if that is what they are trying to do. I am not certain that they are trying to protect the interests of the community at all in taking the position that they are in respect of this matter. The fact is that I have indicated before today that in principle I support the notion of the Government imposing an entry charge for Floriade. There has been a lot of rhetoric, and there always is in a debate like this.
Mr Stanhope: Not from me.
MR KAINE: I did not accuse anybody. I just said that there has been a lot of rhetoric. Some of it is totally irrelevant to the question of whether or not people should be asked to make a payment to go to Floriade. I think that the Government can be criticised for failing to notify people long before they did that a charge would apply this year, but the notion of paying something to go to Floriade is not something that just came up this year. It has been under consideration before. In fact, last year a lot of people who attended Floriade paid a $5 parking charge. What was a public parking area became a private area. Personally, I was astonished to drive up there and discover that somebody wearing a white jacket was asking me for $5. I declined to pay and I went and parked somewhere else. I suppose a lot of other people did, too. The significant thing is that that car park was pretty well full, so there were a lot of people who did not mind paying $5 for parking.
Mr Corbell: You were the Minister for Tourism and Urban Services.
MR KAINE: I know.