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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 6 Hansard (14 June) . . Page.. 1800 ..

MR BERRY (continuing):

Mr Moore relied on this fallacious argument that because a promise was made at the last election, a promise which was not made, then the government has a right to do what it likes. Well, Mr Moore has been misled, and perhaps we might win him over. I can see that I am starting to win on Mr Rugendyke. He is coming my way. I can just feel it. He now knows that a promise was not made and that the community has been misled. With a little bit of research, he will confirm that, and I am sure he will even be warmer to the ideas that I am putting to him on this matter.

Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, I think the work ought to be done. I cannot see any reason why the government is shirking its responsibility in this respect. There has been no promise, there has been no work, and I think the motion ought to pass.

MR KAINE (6.55): Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, I have been listening to the debate with some interest. I found it rather amusing that we got into a debate on whether or not we were in breach of the standing orders. When you read the motion that is before us, there is no question of any breach of standing orders. This motion does not question the government's right to spend the money. Indeed, until the budget is passed there isn't any money anyway.

This motion has to do with whether or not the government spends the money in light of some informed position, or whether it just spends the money. What Ms Tucker is attempting to do here is to ensure that there is some investigation into the end result of spending the money, not whether the money is going to be spent or whether it is not; she is not questioning that.

I think the debate has pretty well established that the government, in seeking to put this amount of money in the budget, did so on the basis of a promise it made six years ago. It has been pretty much established that they did this without any groundswell of public opinion asking for it, and without seeking any particular input as to whether it was a good thing to do or not. They did it because they felt obliged to do so, having made a commitment six years ago.

I do not take exception to that, but I think Ms Tucker has a point. Since not much consideration has been given and not much input has been made to the government on the question of whether the money should be spent or how it should be spent, I think it is not unreasonable that she should ask that the government spend the money from an informed position, if they are going to spend it at all. That is what this motion is about. It is not a question of whether we are prejudging a budget decision or anything else. We are doing nothing of the kind. That decision will be made next week when we get to debate the budget, and I presume the budget will go though with the money still in it. I have not heard any indication from anybody that they are going to move to remove the money from the budget.

I think Ms Tucker's motion is an eminently logical one. I know it is one that will not appeal to the government. It is asking them to do a bit of work that so far they have neglected to do, so they will not particularly want to do it

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