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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 9 Hansard (19 November) . . Page.. 2718 ..

Mr Humphries: You don't like it, obviously.

Mr Moore: She said no, Wayne. It is clear. No more money.

MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! There is too much cross-talk.

MS CARNELL: Mr Deputy Speaker, I have no trouble in taking the decision and taking the heat, no trouble at all. What I have a problem with - I assume that anybody would in this situation - is then having the Assembly overturn that decision. If the Assembly is going to do that - that is, potentially, an approach for the future - then the Assembly should decide on salary allocations. I have to tell you I do not think it would be a very good outcome because at the end of the day I have no idea how you would do it. You have to have it one way or another. You cannot have a situation where the Chief Minister makes the allocations, takes the heat, but the Assembly then decides to change it. It is obviously unworkable.

I am comfortable in supporting Mr Osborne's motion. Certainly it ensures that there is no discrimination, as those opposite would say. Everybody ends up, I suppose, funding Mr Kaine's increase. The taxpayer does not pay. My concern was that the taxpayer would end up paying for Mr Kaine's decision to sit on the crossbenches. I do not think that is appropriate.

I do not think, by the way, it is appropriate for the Assembly to set a new precedent that really does mean that Chief Ministers in the future, whoever they may be, will have their decisions in this area overturned. Again I would make the point that I do not know why, if that was the case, a Chief Minister would be involved in setting salary allocations for non-Executive members at all. The Speaker could do it. You could have some committee of non-Executive members to do it. You could do all sorts of things. If any of you who have been here for a while like to think about that option, I think you would agree with me that it would not be a great option for the non-Executive members of the Assembly.

I will finish by saying that, if members feel this is the way to go, we will certainly support Mr Osborne's amendment. It does at least achieve the outcome that the taxpayer will not bear the bill for what I believe was a very individual decision by Mr Kaine after the election.

MS TUCKER (4.46): I will speak to this amendment. I want to respond to a couple of the things that have been said. I think it is really a shame when what appears to be a majority of members stand in this place and talk about the principle of the Chief Minister's right to make decisions about such things as staff allocations for members as if it were sacrosanct, the Holy Grail, the most important principle that we must respect and consider in this debate. What that implies is that it does not matter what the Chief Minister of any government might do if it means that we challenge her right to fund whatever that action is. We do not challenge it. It does not matter what other principle is at stake. What we have at stake here, and what we are discussing, is another principle, which is discrimination on political grounds. That is basically what the Chief Minister has done. She has discriminated against a member of this place for political actions that he has taken.

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