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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 7 Hansard (20 June) . . Page.. 2194 ..

MR OSBORNE: I did not do that. Last year the government was saying that it was all or nothing. I made a decision. I made that decision because I had a problem with a significant thing in the budget. The legal advice I had was that it was breaking every UN convention possible, blah, blah, blah. Mr Moore disagreed, but it was a life or death decision that I made last year.

Mr Speaker, we have a decision to make. I could stand up and do what Mr Berry has done. I am intrigued at the attitude of the Labor Party. This year, for the first time in a long time, they have actually got something that they can take to the people and say that it is what they disagree with in the budget, whereas last year we were criticised by some members of the Labor Party for not supporting them and creating a huge mess. When they were asked why they were not supporting the budget last year, they could not pinpoint anything in particular. It was just that they were philosophically opposed to the government on various issues. This year they have actually got a decent issue on which they can say that they are going to vote against the budget. I challenge them to be brave enough to do what they have done in the last five years. If they are really fair dinkum, if they really feel that this issue is big enough, they should be brave enough to back their convictions and vote against it. Mr Speaker, I am just one of 17 and Mr Rugendyke is just one of 17. We have been placed in this position through the stupidity of others in this place. We have to make a decision on whether to support this budget.

MR HARGREAVES: Mr Speaker, I seek leave to speak again briefly.

Leave granted.

MR HARGREAVES: I want to make one point to Mr Osborne on this issue. If he wants to support the budget, as he has done before, that is fine. There is nothing in this bill that says he cannot support the budget. I think he has missed the point. He thinks that in supporting this piece of legislation he has to knock back the budget. He does not. He can support them both. I am disappointed that he has decided that one is cause for effecting the other, whereas that is decidedly not the case.

MR SMYTH (Minister for Urban Services, Minister for Business, Tourism and the Arts and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (4.22): Listening to the cant from the Labor Party, you would think that the education system of the ACT was some sort of wasteland starved of funds and initiatives over the last six years.

We must start with the budget of 1993, when the Labor government, of which Mr Berry and Mr Wood were sitting members, sought to reduce the number of teachers in the ACT. That is the only occasion when the education budget has been reduced. That is their record, and it is a record they seek to walk away from. If I were them, I would attempt to walk away from it as well.

As Mr Stefaniak outlined during question time, the number of initiatives this government has put in place over the last six years and the fact that we have honoured our commitment to raise spending on education every year, audited by KPMG, indicate this government's commitment to education.

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