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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 1 Hansard (18 February) . . Page.. 351 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

This is being done today. This will set the scene for the debate on 9 March rather than have this debate on 9 March when some members may be away - in fact some will be away - and when the debate on this motion would take up some of the time which would otherwise be devoted for the subject members have said they need plenty of time to consider. Mr Speaker, I have moved that motion which has been circulated in my name and I hope that members will support the extension of time that it envisages.

MR BERRY (4.39): Mr Speaker, this is probably the greatest joke that has ever been put forward by these people opposite. Here they are, all of these Ministers who participate in the Westminster system. They take all the perks and power that go with being part of the Executive for all of the year, including all of the Public Service which they use to develop their budget, and then they come to us and say, "You can now have a go for one day". What a joke! If you people over there, including the Chief Minister, are not capable of understanding your role as the Executive in the Westminster parliamentary system and you are not capable of putting together a budget, with all of the help you have in the Public Service, with the slick salaries and conditions and power that you enjoy, well, I have a suggestion for you. If you are prepared to vacate your chairs, ditch the perks and power, I can dig up a bunch of people who are prepared to do it - to put together a budget and bring it back to this Assembly and take the risk. I can put together a bunch of people. There is a whole bunch of them here.

Government members interjected.

MR SPEAKER: Order! Settle down please.

MR BERRY: We have over there a bunch of people who want to further blur the responsibility that they have as the Executive so as to try to create the impression that it is not their fault. The fact of the matter is that they took on the responsibility, under the Westminster system, to play the role of the Executive. They take the perks, the power and all the trimmings to ensure that they are in the position to steer policy on the basis of all the advice that they get from the 17,000 strong Public Service, or whatever it is.

Mr Moore is going to try to speak on this matter. He should consider other members around this place who want to speak. There are only three speakers allowed in this debate.

Mr Humphries: Well, so should you.

Mr Moore: So sit down. You take two minutes and I will take two minutes.

MR BERRY: We get one speaker and the crossbenches can get a go as well. Mr Speaker, even if you accept that this is the way to go, that we should have a debate on the one day and the Assembly here should attach itself to some sort of budget process and have an input into it, it is absolutely appalling to suggest that this could be done in one day, a whole day, by the rest of the members of this Assembly. This is a slick stunt by a bunch of bludgers who are prepared to take the perks of office, all the salaries, all the power, and use of the Public Service, but when it comes to the crunch they want somebody else to share in the responsibility. Mr Speaker, this is just not good enough.

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