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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 9 Hansard (19 November) . . Page.. 2715 ..

MR BERRY (continuing):

members in this place whether they had spoken to their staff about their salary allocation being undermined. Mr Osborne, all of us have our staff on some sort of contract, and you just cannot wave it around like that. This has not been well thought out. This was a cheap political move which should be discarded immediately. It is a silly move. It has been done without thought and it has not been calculated properly. (Extension of time granted)

I am taken by the vindictiveness of the Chief Minister's approach which emerged when this first happened. That is what I thought was most unfair. I understand the tension that would have occurred between Mr Kaine and the Liberal Party, but it was not worthy of this approach. We have all been through a staff salary allocation organised by the Chief Minister, under the bodgie Prasad report. The Prasad report was about Assembly members, but the consultant did not even come here on a sitting day. Yet the Government was able to work out staff salary allocations on the basis of it. What a joke! People blush and exhibit mock indignation when people talk about deals being done. That is quite over the top.

Clearly, by the Government's own standards, Mr Kaine ought to get an extra staff salary allocation. He is in no different a position from any of the other crossbench members, nor is he in a different position from Mr Moore. I get back to Mr Moore. Did Mr Moore complain about where the money was going to come from when he became a Minister? Did he say, "I wonder where this is coming from."? No, of course he did not, and it was found. This indignation about these issues I find repulsive.

Mr Humphries complained that this is the first time that this has ever come into the Assembly. Yes, it is. I do not have any difficulty with a public debate about my staff salary allocation, but the reason that it is here is that it was mismanaged in the first place. It has been mismanaged in a most unfair way, and that is why it has come to this. Surely, when my motion first appeared on the notice paper, the Chief Minister should have been able to determine that something had gone wrong. Surely, she would have said, "This is the first time in the life of this Assembly that a motion has been put on notice in relation to staff salary allocations. Something is wrong. I should fix it.". There was no attempt to do so.

Mr Humphries: Mr Deputy Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Listening to this debate upstairs, I heard Mr Berry make claims about a deal being done between the Government and other members. He made references which are unparliamentary. You can wave me aside, Mr Berry, but I am entitled to make a point of order, if you do not mind. Those references were earlier ruled as unparliamentary by Mr Cornwell, and I ask that you similarly rule that those comments should be - - -

MR BERRY: I will withdraw them. I will use the word "arrangement" in future, so that you are not so offended, Mr Humphries.

MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: The word "deal" is nevertheless debatable, and there was no instruction to withdraw earlier today.

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