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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 7 Hansard (20 June) . . Page.. 2201 ..

MR HUMPHRIES: I spend my time here working in this building, Mr Deputy Speaker.

Mr Berry: He is staying here now? Sorry. I withdraw that and apologise.

MR HUMPHRIES: Thank you. It is a measure of the hypocrisy that passes for fact in this place that there has been a huge amount of changing of mind about these issues in this place. I should say at the outset that, as far as I can discern, the only person who throughout their parliamentary career has taken a consistent position on amendment of budgets in this place is Ms Tucker. When this issue was debated in 1995, Ms Tucker maintained that it was quite all right for government budgets to get amended, and she maintains that position again today. As far as I can see, she is the only person in this place who has consistently maintained that position.

The Liberal Party, it has to be conceded, in 1993 argued for the right to be able to amend the budget of the then government, as you, Mr Deputy Speaker, will be well aware as you were education minister at the time. In 1995 it indicated that it believed that that was a mistake and moved a motion in this place that that not recur.

The Labor Party has also had a road-to-Damascus-style conversion but rather more recently. Its position in 1995 was very strongly that amending the budget was completely and utterly inappropriate. None of the qualifications which have been mentioned in this debate today were mentioned in 1995.

Let me quote what the Labor Party had to say about the prospect of amending a budget in November 1995 when we were debating the first budget of the Carnell government. Mr Connolly led the debate for the Labor Party on this matter. He spoke at length and he spoke in these terms:

... we said then, as we say now and have said throughout, and we are the only political body that has said throughout, that the government is the only body that may introduce or amend a budget, that non-government members can exercise control over the government of the day in a minority situation by voting against individual measures within the budget, by voting no.

That is, by voting against the budget as a whole.

Mr Berry: No, voting against individual measures.

MR HUMPHRIES: No, that is not what he was saying.

Mr Berry: Are you sure?

MR HUMPHRIES: Yes, I am, because other members went on to speak on this matter, including you, Mr Berry. I will quote what you had to say on this subject as well if you like. You were quite eloquent on the subject. On the same day Mr Berry talked about the problem of 1993 vote in favour of amending the budget. He said:

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