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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 2 Hansard (11 March) . . Page.. 624 ..


: It did not. It provided CPI funding for education and then funded its election promises out of the CPI increase, as well as taking $1.9m to fund its bottom line. If you call that fulfilling an election promise you have got a twisted view of the world. The fact of the matter is that you did not fulfil your election promise.

Mr Smyth: We certainly have. We are very proud of the maintenance of the real terms guarantee.

MR BERRY: You should be embarrassed. You did not fulfil your election promise. In fact, you cut funding to education by about $3.8m, almost all of the money which was given to education to cover the CPI. Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, this is a government that has shown its style over and over again. It is a government that is wasteful of community resources, is scornful of community services, and bleats that it is time that somebody else took responsibility for it.

I see that the Chief Minister, the former Health Minister, has made some comments about health costs in the ACT and how much over national standards they are. That suggested to me that she wants to play the lowest common denominator game and bring us back to the lowest standard in Australia. Well, I am not going to be in that, and neither will most members of this Assembly. At the end of the day, health costs in the ACT have grown because of this Chief Minister. This Chief Minister has caused health costs to grow, so she cannot blame us for that. We all recall the $80m extra that went into health over the last term when she was Chief Minister. We now have a situation where the new Health Minister is dealing with a budget blow-out of a magnitude which is yet to become clear.

When it comes to the crunch we have a situation where we have a Chief Minister who is saying to the Opposition, "Look, you have to give me the ideas. I just spend the money. I spend the money to make myself look good. You give me the ideas about how to get it. I spend the money to keep myself secure. So Mr Moore gets a ministry and all the trappings that go with it. You have got to provide it for me. I have a need to spend all this money. I need to keep the community happy, but you have to take the blame for providing it. If you cannot come up with the answers, anything that I do is your fault". Well, Chief Minister, if you cannot hold down your job responsibly and in accordance with the self-government Act, and in accordance with the way that we have been conducting self-government here in the ACT over three-plus terms now, it is about time you gave it away and gave it to somebody else who can.

Labor is in a position to provide responsible government for the Territory. We can do it in accordance with the usual standard expected of responsible government. It is clear now that the Chief Minister cannot. It is clear now that her populist approach has caught up with her. She cannot deal with unpopularity and she cannot manage. The latest example of that has been the Government's vote of grave concern in one of their own Ministers, and he is still there.

Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, the Government has no case to argue here. This motion has inevitably been a waste of time which has led us nowhere. They would be better off dealing with the budget in accordance with the first paragraph of their motion, and that is deliver a budget which fulfils the community's needs.

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