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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 6 Hansard (14 June) . . Page.. 1801 ..

MR KAINE (continuing):

I think you cannot argue the point about whether the motion is legitimate and whether or not it should be debated now under the terms of our standing orders. I do not think they are questions that are in issue here. If we take Ms Tucker's motion at face value and what it is asking the government to do, it is not a matter affecting the budget in any way. It does affect how they spend the money. It actually means that it stays in the budget. I think it is a sensible motion.

I do not know why Mr Rugendyke came into conflict with the authority of this place over whether or not it was outside the standing orders. I think that is totally irrelevant. I agree with the notion that we should vote on this and get it over and done with. We have about three minutes before seven o'clock.

MR OSBORNE (6.58): This issue about school buses is an interesting one. I do not consider the proposed spending on school buses to be educational spending. It is a form of tax relief, just as the reduced rego fee is a form of tax relief. There are a lot of things in this budget on which I think the government have got their priorities wrong. I have said quite publicly that I think that $27 million-

MR TEMPORARY DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! Mr Osborne, the motion is not contrary to standing orders, but you are foreshadowing a debate and I am reliably informed that you are in breach of standing order 59.

MR OSBORNE: All right. I will speak to this motion. I look at this motion and it seems to me to be about public transport, which is about the school buses.

Mr Rugendyke: It is in the budget.

MR OSBORNE: That is in the budget, but I may be wrong. That is my reading of the motion. It refers to a comparative analysis between increased expenditure on student transport. They are not giving money to mums and dads to get free petrol. There are no trains. It can only really mean school buses. So how am I out of order?

The point I want to make, Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker is this: this is the government's budget. If they choose to spend the money that way, regardless of whether I agree or not, that is their prerogative. I think the money would have been better spent on reducing class sizes and things like that, or more police, or more money for rehabilitation. There are lots of things like that, Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker. I think to link it specifically to education is just not correct. It is just not correct.

Ms Tucker: Okay. That is two minutes.

MR OSBORNE: It is not two minutes. It is a minute and a half.

Ms Tucker: And you have broken the standing orders.

MR OSBORNE: Rule me out of order, I dare you, because I will argue with you. The money that is being spent on the free school buses has come from the surplus, and that is a decision this government has made. That is the general consensus of this motion of Ms Tucker's. I will sit down.

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