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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 2 Hansard (11 March) . . Page.. 618 ..

MR SMYTH: In the absence of the Hansard of earlier today, I want to clarify something that I said at the end of question time. I am not quite sure whether I made myself clear. I just want to clear up the chronology of the review of the Women's Information and Referral Centre and the provision of the report from the review. The report was presented to the department in October 1998. The Chief Minister made a speech on 12 November 1998 supporting the continuing work being done by the centre. On 25 November 1998, I received the consultant's report and noted that the report would be released shortly to relevant parties. Importantly, and this is the matter on which I am unclear about what I said earlier today, the letter to Gerdina Bryant from the department which provided a copy of the Women's Information and Referral Centre report was signed on 9 March 1999. I think I actually said that it was released on International Women's Day last year when, in fact, I should have said International Women's Day this year, last Monday. I am not sure what I said, but wish to clarify it so that we are all quite clear.


Debate resumed.

MR BERRY (4.23): Much has been said in relation to this matter and in many ways it is difficult not to repeat many of the claims and the criticisms of the Carnell Government's approach. Those criticisms have been quite legitimate. Today's debate is a sign that this Government has lost its way. On Tuesday I was amused to hear the Chief Minister say, "This is not about a 10-second media grab". I thought, "Gee, that is a relief. Tonight when I watch the television there will be no sign of the Chief Minister. We will get the night off". But when I watched the news at 6 o'clock on Tuesday evening, sure enough, the whip-wielding Chief Minister was there for the 10-second media grab. So we were misled again, Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker. You can always expect this Chief Minister to say whatever comes into her head if it suits the situation.

This is a government that has run out of ideas and it is now faced with the perils of populism. This Government has now discovered that it is unpopular and it is trying to shift the blame onto other people. It wants to pass the responsibility of governing to other people and to switch the blame.

In proposing this motion the Chief Minister has attempted to misrepresent the role of the Assembly and her own role. It is the role of the Executive to develop budgets, and the role of the Assembly is to scrutinise them. Under our system of government there is a range of roles and responsibilities of the Executive. In the ACT many of the powers of the Chief Minister include powers similar to those which might be exercised by the Governor-General or Governors in other jurisdictions. The Chief Minister is the head of the ACT Executive. Let us have a look at the power of the head of executive government as stated in House of Representatives Practice at page 14:

. choosing, summoning and dismissing Members of the Federal Executive Council.

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