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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 13 Hansard (9 December) . . Page.. 4077 ..

MR OSBORNE (continuing):

Government in this country, Mr Speaker, is too much about winning the spoils of government. Good governance is only an occasional by-product. However, it is high time that much more of the business of running this town was conducted in the open. I appreciate that the major parties struggle with wanting real reform of government because they like a system which suits themselves. For the major parties, governing Canberra is about power for their party. The Assembly ought to work for people, not for the parties.

We do not need a parliament of adversaries where an Opposition opposes for no other reason than it wants to become the Government, and where the Government is secretive. We should have a system where a greater degree of commonsense prevails and real people have a real voice in it. If anyone wants an example of how the system should not work it need only look at the debate between the Government and the Opposition at any time over the last nine or ten years of this Assembly's life. I have to say the exhibition so far in this debate would probably do.

I believe that, with all its flaws, a draft budget could eventually be good for Canberra if there is the will here to make it so. The proposal I have outlined provides for greater scrutiny, openness, public input and cooperation. Unfortunately, Mr Speaker, the Labor Party does not want to play ball, but I do hope that those members, once the draft budget is sent off to different committees, will try to work within the framework so that we can move forward. This can be a positive process.

MR QUINLAN: I seek leave to speak again, very briefly.

Leave granted.

MR QUINLAN: Mr Speaker, with your indulgence, may I read for Mr Osborne's benefit a section from the report of the committee that he chaired which relates to this particular topic. Section 4.18 states:

Mr Stanhope does not agree with the majority of the Committee. He believes that it is the role of Government to prepare and propose a budget. Further the proposal for the reference of a draft budget to the various standing committees would lead to a chaotic situation that would seriously inhibit the preparation of a coherent budget.

That was in your report, Mr Osborne.

MS TUCKER: I would like to respond to some of the comments of Mr Humphries.

Leave granted.

MS TUCKER: I did not hear Mr Osborne speak to my amendment, but he is telling me that he will not support it. I am disappointed about that. I think his intentions are good if he thinks that what he is achieving here is opening up the process in a way that will make it more accountable. I actually think it is achieving the opposite, as I have already explained.

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