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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 7 Hansard (30 June) . . Page.. 1836 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

initiatives that have come at a cost to other parts of the urban services budget. We have also seen continuing neglect by the Government of important mental health services for children and adolescents. They are just a few of the areas that have experienced cuts or neglect.

It is offensive in the extreme for people in the community who are struggling to get basic services to see this expenditure on Bruce. I can tell you - and I received another email at lunchtime - that this is definitely the sentiment of the community. People say, "Why is it that we can find these millions and millions of dollars suddenly when we cannot get basic services?".

Mr Moore: Can you explain the difference between "capital" and "recurrent"?

MS TUCKER: Mr Moore interjects to ask whether we can explain the difference between capital works and recurrent funding. That is such a politician's answer. This is going to matter to the person in the community who does not have support for her child with a disability. This is going to make a big deal of difference to her, Mr Moore.

This no-confidence motion is about addressing the specific actions of the Government in trying to make legal appropriations that were illegal, but this expenditure cannot be seen in isolation. It must come at a cost to other very important areas of government activity. The community is watching what happens here today very closely. Many people feel real concern about the way this Government has been operating. They recognise that government has to be rigorous and accountable in its processes. This is an absolutely critical bottom line for good governance. Unfortunately, this Government has failed seriously in this area.

The Greens do take this matter of no confidence very seriously. It has not been a decision which was taken lightly. It is clear from our reading of the formal advice and from the community sentiment that has been expressed to the Greens party and my office that this motion must be supported.

MR OSBORNE (4.33): Mr Speaker, I would like to start by addressing the issue of ignorance of the law. Although I was in the Police Academy many years ago, one of the few things I do recall was that it was no defence. I do not remember much more, but ignorance of the law was no defence. Another issue, I suppose, is whether punishment fits the crime, and that is an issue I think we all are facing here in the Assembly today.

Mr Speaker, I have not enjoyed sitting in judgment over the past few weeks on this matter that is before us today. In fact, to some extent I have personally resented being placed in this position, but I have nonetheless done my best to make sense of the facts as they have progressively come to light. I have listened closely to many things that have been said, and, in particular, references to some of my comments from previous Hansards in relation to the financial management of the Territory. I would have to say, Mr Speaker, that I do not move from any of that. Neither do I move from my comments in 1998 when I said that I require, and I quote, "a clear and compelling case of gross misconduct, corruption or negligence on the part of the Executive". Let me say the first part again, "clear and compelling". I would have to be convinced that it was a clear and

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