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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 6 Hansard (13 June) . . Page.. 1584 ..

MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

I thought, "She is going to run foul of the machine fairly shortly." I reckon, Mr Speaker, that if you are making a choice between incompetence and ignorance on the one hand and conspiracy on the other, go with incompetence and ignorance, do not go with conspiracy-and I could never accuse those opposite of that but it had the smell about it.

At one stage Mrs Burke was at a meeting of the Estimates Committee. She was interested in what was being said, she knew the subject and had done the research. She had obviously done a lot of work overnight. She disappeared out of the room and came back an entirely different person. I can only assume that she had run front on into the Liberal Party machine which has said, "Sorry about that, that is not the game. Harold is the way the game is played. You don't do it that way." She has been through a culture shock, and I have a lot of sympathy for her position.

There were some times when I tried my best to get through to Mrs Burke and I just could not do so. An example of this is the construction of any budget. You start at the beginning with a draft budget, you go through the initiatives, you get to the end, and there is your final budget. That is what a budget is. At the last committee hearing I asked Mrs Burke to please tell us what it is that she does not understand about that process. She will recall my saying to her, "Tell us what your view is and we will see what we can do about that." To turn around and say in the committee's report and in the press that we did not do that is, in my view, quite incorrect and sets the scene for the extent to which I will be as generous of heart next time around. There is no way in the wide world that I will be, Mr Speaker. She says, "I tried to work as constructively as I could". I believe she did that but I believe also she ran foul of the machine and the machine told her what she could and could not do, and that was the end of it.

Mr Speaker, if the system is corrupted, it has been corrupted by the two members opposite. I was not surprised by Mr Hird's attitude but I was disappointment by Mrs Burke's behaviour. I think it was appalling. I reiterate, Mr Speaker, that an examination of the Hansard will show exactly the contribution that was made. Mrs Burke opened up almost all of her questions with, "Oh, can you tell us about this wonderful program or that excellent program." She did not need to do that. We just ask the straight questions. As I said, an examination of Hansard will reveal the contribution of all the members.

Mr Speaker, I commend this report to the Assembly. I think it is the best one I have seen in a long, long time and I am very proud to be associated with it. I think a lot of this comes down to the contribution of members, the editorial work of the chairman, the contribution of the committee secretariat and, in the end, the honest exchange from all bar two members during the committee hearings.

MRS BURKE (11.50): Mr Speaker, I seek leave to table a dissenting report by Jacqui Burke MLA, and Harold Hird MLA, to the report of the Select Committee on Estimates 2001-2002.

Mr Kaine: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I thought we were debating a committee's report. Are we now going to debate two committee reports, because the one that I have in front of me contains a dissent from Mrs Burke? Are we now going to debate two committee reports on the budget, and is that in accordance with the standing orders of this place?

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