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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 1 Hansard (15 February) . . Page.. 226 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

I have said to Mr Humphries off the record, talking to him privately, that it may be that we will not have enough time. It may not be the government's fault. They are claiming that they cannot do it in any other timeframe. If that is the case, then that is something we have to look at as a parliament. If there are not going to be enough days in the year for these processes to occur, giving enough time to do them properly, then let us think about that and let us talk about that.

I will certainly want to see this amendment supported and I will be voting against this whole motion today because of the concerns I have about the time in which we would have to do this work. I know how hard the community organisations which put in submissions to our committees work to come up with thorough and comprehensive submissions. I know how they work within their groups. I know how long it takes for them to consult with their members. It is really unfair to expect them to come up with submissions to committees in that time.

I know that Mr Humphries is going to put out a press release saying that the Greens and Labor do not care about consultation. He has already done it. I just have to make the point clearly and hope people understand that this is actually quite a sham. It is insulting. Mrs Burke thought it was really a good process-innovative and exciting. Mrs Burke has not worked in committees yet. Maybe she does not know how much work is involved. Maybe she does not realise how frustrating it would be to try to do a good job on this very big area of inquiry in about two weeks.

I think we need to make it quite clear that we will treat the community with more respect than that and that we think it is very bad for this Assembly to engage in these sham processes for political ends. I know it is an election year and there are going to be a few media releases coming out, but this is about the credibility of this parliament and I find it very concerning that it is so lightly regarded, particularly by the Chief Minister.

MR HARGREAVES (11.50): You are talking about this exercise being part of the consultation process. Both sides of the house and the crossbenches do not have any difficulty with the consultation process. Any amount of appropriate consultation before decisions are made is welcome.

We are being asked to look at the draft budget in five weeks, two of which are sitting weeks. If people want to just go along and sit in their committee meetings, cursorily read the documents and allow the committee secretaries to go away and do the work for them, which in my view is the epitome of bone idleness, then they have plenty of time in the five weeks to do it.

This exercise requires an immense amount of reading, talking to people and thinking. If we were serious about the consultation process, two things should have occurred. The period should have been extended, and the information should have been provided already.

Mr Humphries: It was extended.

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