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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 7 Hansard (20 June) . . Page.. 2205 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

At 5.00 pm, in accordance with standing order 34, the debate was interrupted. The motion for the adjournment of the Assembly having been put and negatived, the debate was resumed.

MR BERRY (5.01), in reply: The first thing I want to do is demolish the little web of deception that has been created by the Chief Minister in relation to history. Let us start with the majority arguments he used in relation to various programs of the government. He said that if we applied the same rule as we are applying to education, where he conceded that 75 per cent of the students are going to miss out, to other initiatives of the government or other portfolio areas then they would collapse as well.

It is completely disingenuous to try to draw those sorts of comparisons. For example, if they had different access for indigenous people, it would then be something you could compare with what is happening in relation to school buses. For example, if they had different standards for various groups within the free dental scheme, then you might be able to draw the comparison. But generally the same level of support is given to members of the community throughout the government's various budget areas. That is the argument we put in relation to education. The money should be more evenly spread across the education community.

Mr Humphries: You have to be poor to use the dental scheme.

MR BERRY: I go back to the dental scheme again. There are not different standards for everybody in the dental scheme, and different standards should not apply across education insofar as you can avoid it. We are putting up a proposal by which we can avoid it.

Let us go to the 1995 motion that was passed in this Assembly. Mr Humphries moved:

That this Assembly reaffirms the principles of the Westminster system embodied in the "financial initiative of the Crown" and the limits that that initiative places on non-Executive Members in moving amendments other than those to reduce items of proposed expenditure.

What we are doing today is entirely consistent with that. There is no attempt to interfere with the financial initiative of the Crown. We are not trying to force the government to appropriate. We are not moving to appropriate, because we know that that offends the financial initiative of the Crown. If one likes to refer to authorities on this issue, as Mr Humphries seems keen to, one should refer to Erskine May's Parliamentary Practice, 22nd edition. It talks about provisions involving the reduction of expenditure:

No special form of procedure applies to proposals to reduce existing expenditure or the scope of existing purposes of expenditure, and such proposals may be moved in the House or in Committee without recommendation from the Crown.

A proposed reduction of expenditure may consist in lowering a stated amount-

that is what we are doing-

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