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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 6 Hansard (3 September) . . Page.. 1951 ..

MR HARGREAVES (6.52): I will not take up very much of the Assembly's time.

MR SPEAKER: That is what they all say, Mr Hargreaves.

MR HARGREAVES: Well, Mr Speaker, I suggest that you turn the clock on and check it out and measure me against that collective bunch across the chamber. I am a bit sad to see that Mr Osborne is so wounded about events of the recent past that he has to constantly introduce terminology meant to inflict mortal wounds. All I have to say to him is: "It ain't working". I would have thought that Mr Osborne would have had better sense than this. Instead of pontificating about these issues in snide ways, he ought to realise and accept that he is not the only person in the world who can go through the dark days of the soul on the most serious issue he has ever been faced with and - - -

Mr Osborne: I take a point of order, Mr Speaker. I have obviously hit a raw nerve.

MR SPEAKER: I beg your pardon?

Mr Osborne: I did not mention it. I would like to remind Mr Hargreaves that I did not mention his name, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: I am sorry; there is no point of order.

MR HARGREAVES: The point, of course, is that Mr Osborne was talking about how to manage budgets. In his usual fashion, he leaves the chamber or he leaves the arena. I must say that I am not surprised about that. If he wishes to depart, all the better.

The Chief Minister asked: How are we going to do it? How are we going to manage the budget? There are two issues about that, Mr Speaker. Firstly, it ain't our job, and we do not have the barrow-load of staff that she has to do it. That is her job. She has to understand that this chamber is charged with scrutiny. Secondly, when you have a big budget like this - I address my remarks to the crossbenchers, although I do not need to in the case of Mr Kaine and Ms Tucker - the issue in respect of these complaints that we have about the budget is not the bottom line. To suggest that you cannot trim elsewhere in programs to take care of at least some of the concerns that this Assembly has expressed is absolute and complete accounting rot. It can go on. All it needs is for you to listen and to do a little bit of work. It can happen. If they say it cannot happen, they are inefficient and incompetent. That is the first thing.

Mr Hird: It is $83m.

Mr Smyth: It is only a little bit of work.

Mr Berry: Oh, a bit more cash accounting?

MR HARGREAVES: That is it. You would well know that you can do a little trim here and a little trim there, and the next thing you know you have a bucket; so you do not have to do quite a number of the draconian things that you have done. You could do it. All you have to do is go back for a little while and have a look at it. We have plenty of time. We have been here for three days.

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