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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 1 Hansard (18 February) . . Page.. 357 ..

MR KAINE (continuing):

Mr Speaker, I can see the media release written by the Chief Minister. She has got it written already: "I gave them a chance and they could not come up with anything". Of course we cannot come up with anything because the ground rules that she has established mean that it is impossible for us to come up with anything substantive.

Look at the subject matter that she proposes. Mr Moore says they are just some fundamentals. One is the respective roles of the Executive and the Assembly in ensuring responsible fiscal management of the Territory. Are we going to deal with that in five minutes or so? Sure. Another is the level of revenue which the Territory should raise, and how the level should be achieved. How would we know? We do not have access to all of the information available to the Government. One of the best of all is the level of debt, and any new borrowings, which the Territory should incur. The simple answer to that is none. The Chief Minister would have a heart attack if we came up and said none, but she expects us to come up with some artificial figure when we have no information available to us that would allow us to come to a conclusion.

Mr Speaker, it is a cheap publicity stunt. I agree that we should be involved in this process, but let us see the program for the year-round involvement, with all of the information being made available to us that is available to the Chief Minister and her Executive, so that we can then be expected to do a proper analysis and make some substantive input to these questions. They are very important issues. But even if the Chief Minister removes the 15-minute debating time and gives us a whole day to discuss these issues, what does she expect to get out of it? What she expects to get out of it is cheap publicity and the ability to put out that media release that I talked about - "I gave them a chance and they could not come up with anything". Chief Minister, it is unworthy of you.

MR SPEAKER: Ms Tucker, you are going to have to seek suspension of the standing orders. The time for the debate has expired. I want to make the situation clear to members. The only person who received an extension of time through the suspension of standing orders was Mr Kaine. Anybody who wants to contribute to this debate will have to seek the suspension of the standing orders.

MS TUCKER: I seek leave to speak for five minutes.

Leave granted.

MS TUCKER: Thank you. I think Mr Kaine just put the case very well so I do not have to speak for very long. I would just make the comment that I think there is an interest from the Greens in more input from members of the Assembly in the budget. When we put our log of claims at the last election we had a proposal for a budget committee. From memory, the response from Mrs Carnell's Government was that they were vaguely interested in that, but it was something that Pettit would look at.

I am also quite disturbed by the selective quoting of Pettit by the Chief Minister when this was announced because Pettit actually said he could see a case for in-depth discussion on budgets in the various committees. That is not necessarily something that I support.

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