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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 7 Hansard (19 June) . . Page.. 2051 ..

MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

Mr Speaker, this criticism is quite offensive and it is not constructive. In fact, 46 of the recommendations of the Estimates Committee talk about how things can be done better with regard to the budget process and the initiatives therein. I have to say, Mr Speaker, that I do not see any evidence of that sort of stuff here.

The Chief Minister and Treasurer accuses the committee of being political. I have to say that the government response to the committee's report is far more political. It is merely aimed at slurring the reputation and good name of the chairman of the committee, and I will not stand for it. Mr Speaker, I think this government response is typical of the invective and viciousness with which the Chief Minister and Treasurer conducts himself in all of these estimates considerations.

MR HIRD (3.50): Mr Speaker, one could be forgiven for knowing how the government was going to respond to the report of the Select Committee on Estimates 2001-2002. Mrs Burke and I-and I have been a member of this committee for a number of year-have seen the way in which this committee operates.

Mr Hargreaves: It is a fine report.

MR HIRD: I can honestly say that the previous speaker, Mr Hargreaves, who just interjected-

Mr Quinlan: Why don't you shut up, Harold. Harold, why don't you shut up and leave it.

MR HIRD: It is interesting that the chairman of the committee tells me to shut up. That shows the frustration of someone who is trying to push his political barrow down the throat of all members of the committee.

I am not going to go on and on about the committee's recommendations. I have referred in this place to the farce of the committee's assessment of the 2001-2002 budget. I do not want to revisit that area. However, I would like to refer to recommendation 15 of the report in which the committee recommended that the government be more transparent in its presentation of funding increases, so that the real increases are identifiable and not merely a year to year comparison of budget amounts. This was dealt with in the pre-budget process.

The opposition do not like this spoonful of honey. They feel that we on this side of the house have stolen their thunder by allowing the government to have the opportunity of listening to the people. We do it on a continuing basis. The Chief Minister has identified, not only today but on numerous occasions, that we are listening to the community and that we want to hear what the community wants and needs.

To listen to this lot across the way you would think that this government is hell bent on pushing things for its own ends. Well, if anything, it is the opposition that is doing that. If you analyse the way in which all the recommendations are framed, you can see that this is the case.

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