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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 12 Hansard (13 November) . . Page.. 3508 ..

MRS DUNNE (continuing):

But do you know what you have to do before you get exceptional circumstances relief? The Labor state governments have to agree to have you listed. Do you know what is happening? They are not listing areas. They are not listing them, because they would have to make a contribution as well. Farmers in places like Brewarrina, Nevertire and the Monaro cannot get exceptional circumstances relief because Bob Carr does not want to foot the bill.

This motion is a simple motion asking the people of the ACT to show some leadership, to look out from their privileged position and put their hands in their pockets. Individuals in this community have done so and will continue to do so. We are asking that this government put its hands in its pocket as it does on a multitude of occasions and as people expect.

We have seen it in the past with natural disaster relief after fires. Recently there was a donation to the fundraising campaign to send athletes to the Olympics in Greece in 2004. That is perfectly laudable, but on that occasion we did not sit back and say, "What is the Commonwealth doing? We are not going to do anything until the Commonwealth does something."We are asking you to show a bit of moral fibre, a bit of social concern.

The Greens say, "We are not going to do anything, because this is an environmental problem."It beggars belief. It leaves me gobsmacked that the party that claims to be the party of social concern does not care about families in rural Australia. This is a disgrace.

MR HUMPHRIES (Leader of the Opposition) (11.52), in reply: I am troubled by the fact that this motion will fail today. I am concerned that the losers in that process will be not the many bogymen which have been raised in the debate today but the Australians who are suffering severe hardship and for whom there is very little else providing wide-scale support to address their problems.

We have seen clear evidence that this motion has been sunk, not so much on the strength of the arguments put forward in support of the motion but because of people's prejudice against big business, the federal government, the sale of Telstra, farming practices in the nation, even Alan Jones.

I had trouble identifying a clear argument from Mr Wood as to the government's reason for opposition for this motion. It seemed to me that the vague points he was trying to make were amplified by Ms Tucker and Ms Dundas. It is a pity he did not have the gumption to put those arguments clearly on the table himself.

Mr Wood made much of the fact, as did Ms Tucker and Ms Dundas, that Farmhand was a private-sector-based charitable effort. By definition, every charity is non-government. As far as I am aware, there is no such thing as a government charity. Charities are all based in the non-government sector-the private sector, if you like.

I do not know what the distinction is between a private sector charity and a non-government charity or not-for-profit charity. If there is some suggestion that any money be left over and this might go back into the pockets of Mr Pratt, Mr Packer and Mr Mansfield, that is too low and contemptible a suggestion to bother to respond to.

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