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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 9 Hansard (19 November) . . Page.. 2665 ..

MS CARNELL (continuing):

Now if he chooses to change that balance, fine. It is his right to do so. But I do not believe and the Government does not believe that the taxpayer should fund such a decision. Remember that it was not a decision made by the taxpayer or the voters but a decision made by Mr Kaine and Mr Kaine alone, again a decision that he had a total right to make.

I think it is really important to look at this motion and what it does. I think that what Mr Kaine says in this motion - and I think it has been somewhat clarified by Ms Tucker - is that the idea is that $28,000 extra should go to Mr Kaine but everybody else's staff salaries should stay exactly the same. That is fine, except that then the Clerk has a $28,000 problem in his budget. Does that mean that the money will come from committee secretaries? I do not know where that money will come from in that budget.

The thing that is fascinating here is that we have known about this for months. We knew a long time before we debated the budget, a long time before estimates. How many people argued that line in the budget? How many people opposed the appropriation line for the Assembly? They knew perfectly well that this was an issue. They knew perfectly well the Government's position on this issue. Not one. Everyone supported it, in fact supported it without debate. In estimates, what happened? As far as I know, absolutely nothing.

The issue here - and I know those opposite are becoming embarrassed - is that they passed the line in the Appropriation Bill for the appropriation to the Assembly. That line stands unless there is a second Appropriation Bill. That is not something that can be argued; it is just the reality. I do not know whether members of the Assembly are suggesting a second Appropriation Bill to handle Mr Kaine's staff salary. I would suggest that it would be a very unwise approach, simply because I am sure that the taxpayer would feel very - - -

Mr Hargreaves: This is a threat.

MS CARNELL: No, these are the rules. This is the case. This Assembly passed a line in the Appropriation Bill knowing exactly what they were doing. If this Assembly allocates $28,000 to Mr Kaine from the Assembly budget - members cannot actually do that; they can ask me to do it - that will not change the Assembly budget by $1. It just means that the Clerk has to find $28,000 from somewhere else. Because the members of this Assembly are so magnanimous, not only are they saying that Mr Kaine should get $28,000 extra but they are saying that it should not come from them. Great! They are saying, "He should have more, but it should not come from us". That means it has to come from somewhere else. It is all very well to make those comments, but the fact is that that means it will come from somewhere else in the Assembly budget. The only way the Assembly budget can be changed is with a second Appropriation Bill.

If Mr Kaine stands for the next election and is elected as an Independent, there will be no problems with him being treated as an Independent, or as a party leader, if that is the basis upon which the taxpayer puts him into this place. The fact is that that is not the case this time, and it is taxpayers' money.

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