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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 9 Hansard (19 November) . . Page.. 2708 ..

MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

We also know that often elements of a particular Public Service department section's activities are transferred to another section. Often it goes around and around. Mr Deputy Speaker, every time it goes around the loop, somebody loses money to somebody else in it. That has been the game for 30 years. I would not like it to change because, in fact, there is money to be gained, and the money is there. So to say that this Government cannot find something like $20,000 to enable Mr Kaine to perform his job in the same way as the other three crossbenchers do I think is grossly wrong. We can find the $25,000 if the Chief Minister and Treasurer has the will to do so. That is what it comes down to - whether the Chief Minister has the will to find it. She has indicated to us today, and by her actions previously, that she is not prepared to do that. I want this Assembly to tell her to do it. The money is available. It is a fair and equitable thing to do.

It is also known, Mr Deputy Speaker, that one of the Government's six members is a backbencher. He gets paid exactly the same as I do. One would argue that he does not have quite the same role as I do; but I do not scream and jump up and down because I am getting less pay than he is, because we have different jobs and we have different roles. But Mr Kaine has exactly the same role as Ms Tucker has and, now that the members of the Osborne Independent Group are Independents, he has exactly the same role as those other two. So, Mr Deputy Speaker, it is patently unfair to deny Mr Kaine access to the same staffing resources as these other three members have.

Mr Deputy Speaker, I urge the Assembly to consider the fairness of what we have before us and to consider that it is an easy exercise to find $20,000. If you can find that kind of money to go on trips around the place regularly, you can find that kind of money to do this. It happens all the time with the recruitment of SES officers in this town. If we can find the money to pay those people, why can we not find the money to have people support our members of the Assembly? I am not seeking any increase in the allocation I have. I do not believe that I have a case - - -

Mr Quinlan: But you would not knock it back.

MR HARGREAVES: I would not knock it back, but I am not seeking it. I believe that Mr Kaine does have a case, and I would urge members very strongly to consider this. It is an absolute furphy that we have not got the money and it is just plain unfair that Mr Kaine does not get that support.

MR QUINLAN (4.04): I will be very brief, Mr Deputy Speaker. The money that the Osborne Independent Group members get has been set up by a contrivance, and I congratulate them on being clever and doing a deal that optimises their staff.

Mr Osborne: On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker: Mr Quinlan has accused me of doing a deal with the Government. I would like that withdrawn, because I did not do a deal with the Government on anything.

MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: Mr Quinlan, you may respond, if you wish.

MR QUINLAN: Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker. I am not trying to impugn the Osborne Group in any way - - -

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