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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 2 Hansard (11 March) . . Page.. 630 ..



much, given that they do not have the resources of the Government. I think we should look forward, Mr Speaker, and find a better way to do the budget. I am sure that all of us in the Assembly will be big enough to put our hand up and be accountable for the decisions that are made.

MR WOOD (5.05): Mr Speaker, Mr Osborne made a fair point, both at the beginning and the end of his speech, when he said that the Government has the resources and crossbenchers and the Opposition do not. Of course, that makes a vast difference to the way you can attack issues.

The insincerity of the Government's approach in presenting this motion has become quite clear. So far I have heard three Ministers speak, the Chief Minister, Mr Humphries and Mr Stefaniak, and they did much the same, each one of them, in their prepared texts. They were done, of course, with the resources of their considerable departments. Each one of them has presented the problems we face. Well, I think we all know those problems in pretty good detail. Each one of them has presented the problems.

Mr Humphries, earlier, said to the rest of the Assembly, "Be specific". That is what he said, "Be specific. Tell us what you would do". Only one member, so far, outside the Labor ranks has made any indication of what might be done to reduce costs, and that was Mr Osborne, a moment ago. So I give him credit for that. Mr Humphries wanted us to be specific. Was he specific? No, I never heard a word. Notwithstanding all the resources of his department, we heard not a word of what he would suggest to raise revenue or to reduce costs. It was the same with Mr Stefaniak, who said, from his prepared departmental text, "There are problems. We have to find solutions". Mrs Carnell spent nearly an hour on that same theme. Not one of these Ministers indicated any specific step.

So what is this motion all about? It is spurious. It is just a political attack on the non-government members in this Assembly. It is simply designed to set the stage for when they present a budget. The Chief Minister and Treasurer will wash her hands and say, "None of you people provided us with anything". Well, if they want us to be specific, I think the onus starts with them to come up with some proposals. There was not one that we could debate. They have one rule for themselves but a different rule for the rest of this Assembly. I repeat, because it bears repetition, "Be specific", said Mr Humphries. "You be specific", says Mr Humphries, "but I will not be". So this is not a genuine motion. It is not to be a real debate because the Government never intended that it should be.

I have listened to the debate - I have been in the chamber for almost all of this prolonged debate, and it seems to me that the Government is saying, "Well, it is all too much for us. It is too hard". The Government seems to be saying, "It is beyond our capacity". If that is the case, there is one clear solution. They should resign. They should get out, toss in the towel, and leave it to someone who can handle the challenge.

I want to go on and provide some balance to this motion - the Government's motion is rather one sided - and in doing so reflect on last year's budget and the speeches attached to it. Remember, it was the clever and caring budget. "Caring" was repeated all through that discussion. I do not think it was such a caring budget, but let us take the

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