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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 7 Hansard (20 June) . . Page.. 2188 ..

MR WOOD (continuing):

decisions, something this government has shown itself quite incapable of doing in recent times. Let us make policy decisions based on what the schools genuinely need.

With a little pride, I say that that is what the Labor Party has done. Attending to that debate, looking at the amount of money involved and bearing in mind the pressure on buses, we have a policy that I believe is firmly in tune with what the community wants and what the community needs. The next step is: how do we do that? What do we do? What has to happen in order to fit action into what is needed? Supporting Mr Berry's motion is the way to do that. It is as simple as that; support this motion and we will not be doing something that is seen, wrongly I believe, to be merely politically expedient. We will be doing something that is sound in policy terms.

MR RUGENDYKE: I seek leave to speak again briefly.

Leave granted.

MR RUGENDYKE: Mr Speaker, I think it is important for me to clarify my position in case members are uncertain about the difference between my position in relation to last year's budget and this year's budget, since members of the Labor Party would like me to help them tinker with this budget simply because I tinkered with the one last year. I will remind members of the reasons for blocking the budget last year. Firstly, it was over the shooting gallery proposal. As I have explained, it was easy to reject a budget with money for a shooting gallery in it. As I said, pseudo tax relief in the form of free bus travel is not an issue to reject a budget over or to change a budget over, just the same as the reduction in car registrations is pseudo tax relief for people who own cars. It will not suit everybody because not everybody owns a car. Not all families will benefit from the free school buses, but some people will save about $400 a year by being able to get their children to school in that way.

Another point to make regarding last year's budget is that the shooting gallery proposal was not government policy. It was not a policy of the Liberal government. As I said, two members of the government crossed the floor to support the Labor Party on getting the shooting gallery notion through. I have made a very important distinction between this year and last year. Last year there were certain circumstances that required me to think carefully about the budget. Last year again, which is different from this year, those opposed to the budget actually voted against the budget. It is important to note also that when the health line came up in last year's budget I voted against it because of an $800,000 appropriation, but there were sufficient votes in approval of the health line to get it through.

When we got to the end of the debate and there was a vote on the budget as a whole, I remained consistent with my view and voted against the budget. Surprise, surprise, there were insufficient yes votes to pass that budget. Not being government policy, two members crossed the floor and the rest is history. This year we have a different story. I am not prepared to tinker with a budget that provides pseudo tax relief for 25 per cent of the families.


(3.57): I did not intend to speak on this matter, but Mr Rugendyke's attempt to explain his inconsistency has compelled me to get to my feet and say a few words. This debate is not about education. It is not about anything except a bit of argy-

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