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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 6 Hansard (13 June) . . Page.. 1644 ..

Suspension of standing and temporary orders

Estimates 2001-2001-Select Committee-report-budget 2001-2002

Motion (by Mr Moore ) agreed to, with the concurrence of an absolute majority:

That so much of the standing and temporary orders be suspended as would prevent the order of the day on the motion that the Report of the Select Committee on Estimates 2001-2002 be noted, being called on forthwith.

Estimates 2001-2002-Select Committee


Debate resumed.

MR HUMPHRIES (Chief Minister, Minister for Community Affairs and Treasurer) (3.48): Mr Speaker I just want to contribute to this debate but, frankly, quite briefly, because I believe that this report which has been presented to the Assembly today does not deserve a great deal more time and attention than I care to give it. And I will not, unlike other members in this place, be seeking an extension of time.

Mr Speaker, I have heard the assertion and the argument that have raged in this house today about the things that are said in this report and about whether they are fair comment or whether they amount to a political attack on the government. I have heard those comments and I accept that people have different views about that. I, of course, very firmly hold the view that this report is an entirely political document which directs itself at the government's budget-or more particularly, I should say, at the government-with much ferocity in a way designed to attack and pull down the essence of the things the government is attempting to do in this budget.

One could be forgiven, in reading this document, for coming to the view that there is nothing of value or worth in the budget whatsoever. Even the things which I can only assume are supported by members of the opposition and the cross-benchers, even those things which I can only assume are considered to be worthwhile, are at best damned with faint praise, at worst ignored or passed over.

I will give an example. Paragraphs 7.38 to 7.40 state:

The budget contains an initiative, Public Access to Legislation.

It is not clear whether the facility would include bills before the Assembly as well as other types of legislation.

The committee believes bills should be available electronically as they often attract strong public interest. This would assist community involvement in the development of legislation.

Now, in a report which has had so much to say about what the government has got wrong, I would read between the lines of those comments to say that the committee believes that online legislation, making available to the community of this city access to legislation, is a good thing. But does the committee say that? No, it does not, because it

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