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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 7 Hansard (19 June) . . Page.. 2094 ..

MR BERRY (continuing):

disagree with it; but if he disagrees with something and he does not participate in the cabinet debate, he can disagree with it. What do principles mean here? Do principles mean anything when it comes to agreement or disagreement with a government position? So again, as has been said, I think there have been some lost opportunities right across the spectrum with this government's approach and this budget we are being asked to deal with this evening and later on this week.

Mr Speaker, we have already announced what we expect to do, and I will be coming to those matters later, so I do not need to go over them again. I merely want to reiterate and reinforce what many people have said here today, and that is that this is a budget of lost opportunities.

MR HUMPHRIES (Chief Minister, Minister for Community Affairs and Treasurer) (8.31): Mr Speaker, I want to respond to a few of the many issues which have been raised in the course of people's comments on the Chief Minister's appropriation in part 3 of schedule 1. There are lots of issues but a few stick out in my mind for their absurdity and inconsistency more than anything else. For example, we had one member of the opposition, I think it was Mr Corbell, who had very plaintive things to say about the churlish tone of the government response to the Estimates Committee brought down today.

Mr Berry: No, that was me.

MR HUMPHRIES: I think both you and Mr Corbell made the same remarks, which does invite the charge of tedious repetition, but I will not make that charge. He then went on to get stuck into the head of the Chief Minister's Department, Mr Speaker, and made some fairly snide and churlish remarks about his views about the national centenary monument. So the hand-on-heart attitude did not last very long; it was only about a minute afterwards that he switched from wounded to attack.

We heard people in this debate speak up for the poor. Mr Stanhope did not actually say that the number of poor in the ACT was growing-that was not a conclusion of the poverty task force of the last six months-but he did imply that the problem is getting worse rather than better. Ms Tucker went so far as to say that there is growing inequity in our society, but failed to acknowledge the many measures in this budget designed to make sure that we were addressing those very questions, such as things like the reduction in the cost of motor vehicle registration. Almost everybody in this community uses a car, directly or indirectly.

Mr Berry: Except the poverty-stricken. What do they get out of it?

MR SPEAKER: Order, please, Mr Berry. You were heard in silence.

MR HUMPHRIES: The fact is, Mr Speaker, that even the poor in this city use cars.

Mr Berry: Somebody else's mostly.


: Maybe somebody else's cars, but they still use them, and the cost of road transport impacts on them. The dental waiting list reduction measures are a hugely significant thing for the poor of this city, Mr Speaker, but no, that is not worth

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