Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 11 Hansard (8 December) . . Page.. 3226 ..
MR MOORE (continuing):
odd occasions, I get somebody who says, "That was a silly idea. You are interfering with civil liberties". Invariably, when somebody does that at a party or wherever, other people around them howl them down. So, I must say, Mr Speaker, I feel very comfortable about it.
The other issue that Mr Berry raised was the methadone program. He said that I should not be doing that because I cannot manage a methadone program. Let me tell you a little bit about the methadone program, Mr Speaker. At the end of last month there were 21 people on the waiting list - a three- to four-week waiting period - for methadone treatment. In contrast, a month before, the list stood at 53, with a six- to seven-week waiting period. In other words, Mr Berry, so far we have cut it in half. That is not good enough.
So, what am I doing about it? There is a whole process of reform going on with both the public and the community programs in response to the recommendations from Dr James Bell from the Langton Centre in Sydney. In other words, Mr Speaker, I have not just been sitting around, doing nothing. I have continued to do my portfolio work, and I will continue to do my portfolio work. Indeed, Mr Berry, you and others ask me questions here at every question time. You will notice that I am always happy to answer them and happy to be held accountable, because that is the democratic process.
Mr Quinlan: How many thousands of public service hours go into preparing you for that, Michael?
MR MOORE: Indeed, Mr Quinlan asks me - and I think it really illustrates the point - how many thousands of public service hours go into preparing me for this? I have to tell you, Mr Quinlan, that a heck of a lot of my hours go into it, in terms of my reading, and a heck of a lot of hours of my senior adviser go into this as well. It would seem reasonable for me to set aside a staff member, or even an equivalent staff member to somebody who is on the crossbench, to do private members business and to do constituency work, if, indeed, I was going to do that. But I am not. What I do instead, Mr Speaker, is just work a little bit harder so that I can do the work of my portfolio and also manage the constituency work that I do and the private and Executive members business that I introduce.
I think the more important thing, Mr Speaker, is that I was prepared to introduce a legislative program in recognition of the recommendations of the Pettit committee, and, indeed, in the Government's response - - -
Mr Corbell: You keep mentioning that, but no-one has reported it yet.
MR MOORE: Mr Corbell interjects, "And nobody has reported it yet". It is not about being reported. It is about making sure that the Assembly understands what is going on, so that the Parliamentary Counsel can have a chance to prioritise and allow people to do the work. If, indeed, I had wanted it reported, I would have put out press release after press release. I chose to just allow the issue to run.