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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 7 Hansard (20 June) . . Page.. 2198 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

Ms Tucker said that in the reckless way in which we were spending this money we were abandoning disadvantaged children. It is not the intention of the government to disadvantage any child. I have spoken to Mr Stefaniak, and we have agreed that those children who might possibly fall through the net should not be disadvantaged. There is a process whereby they can appeal to the Urban Services Department to make sure that they do not fall through the net.

If Ms Tucker is so concerned about consultation when she tables her new policies come the election, will we see a list of groups consulted, the impact on the budget, an analysis of effectiveness and regulatory impact statements that show that they are good policies.

We heard from Mr Corbell we apparently missed two important elements. One was procedure. If you do not like the outcome, you go after the process or the procedure. Before Mr Corbell makes any commitments on any of the areas that he is the policy spokesperson for, perhaps he will tell us whom he has consulted, what the impacts are, where his analysis is and where the regulatory impact statement is. Otherwise, we will have to disregard all those things that he might put forward as policy.

Mr Corbell quoted Ben Chifley. He was inspired by Mr Chifley's famous "light on the hill" speech. Somebody has been out polling. How do we know? Because they have rung people, and those people have told us what the questions were. One glib little question was: "How would you feel if the government was to give you a book educational allowance as a little one-off bonus to help you over the hump of the new education year?" There was a little bit of potted spending to different people all over the place. What a shame that Mr Corbell has extinguished the light on the hill on education. This is about getting them elected. This is not anything to do with what we have achieved in the last six years.

We had attacks on Mr Moore, with allegations that Mr Moore had changed his story. he has changed his story. The government also has changed its story. In 1993, through the present Speaker, Mr Cornwell, the government attempted to amend Labor's budget. Since that time we have said that we got it wrong.

Mr Stanhope: It was another mistake.

MR SMYTH: Yes, it was a mistake. But unlike you, Mr Stanhope, we fessed up and said we got it wrong. It is incredible that everybody in this place except the Labor Party is allowed to make mistakes. We own up when we make a mistake, and we apologise. Those opposite apparently have never made a mistake. (Extension of time granted.) I guess it was just an accident that when they were ousted from office in 1995, when I guess the electorate of the ACT betrayed them, they were $344 million in debt.

This is not the way you do it. The precedent is that governments get their budget or they fall on their budget. That is the precedent that Mr Osborne and Mr Kaine used last year. Those opposite tried to twist that, as they always do. They twist everything. They voted against the entire budget. They did not attempt to amend it. They are saying that they can do whatever they want in opposition. They are saying, "We do this, because we are the Labor Party and that is the way we operate." But then they try to discredit others who have acted along the lines of the convention and acted honourably. They said that the government would fall, and we changed our minds. Those opposite are throwing out

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