Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 12 Hansard (19 November) . . Page.. 4368 ..
MRS DUNNE: That one. It was that one. When he talks about the public service, he is actually talking about the public service, not the executive service. And what this is about is service to the community. But this government is not interested in service to the community; it is about grandstanding and having its own way. It is also, as Ms Tucker said, a very closed-minded government.
How many times do open-minded, fair-thinking people come to an issue and think, "Sounds a bit hokey, but let's explore the issues"? And sometimes you might come up with something that surprises you. Even you, Mr Quinlan, could be surprised at what an investigation like this might find. You might find something that could be done that would be of service to people who are poor and doing it tough in this town.
Mr Quinlan: So might you if you worked on the committees.
MRS DUNNE: And on the subject of committees, the most insulting thing that could be said in this place to the people who are sitting here is that we are not really strong on committee work. The people who moved and are supporting this motion work their tails off on committees, and we produce damn good work. It might be inconvenient to you, and I am getting pretty used to the idea that this government ignores most of what comes out of committees. I am used to it, because I think at my first meeting as a committee chairman with a minister the minister said, "Get used to being ignored, Mrs Dunne."
We are not going to go away because you will not do what we want or we suggest. We all are going to continue to do our work. We are pretty strong on committee work, because these committees work hard and they are diligent. The fact that you do not like what we say is not the same thing.
Getting back to the substantive issues of this motion, I am a bit regretful that Ms Dundas deleted part 3 of her original motion, because I do not have the opportunity to say what a completely silly idea the current solar hot water scheme is and how it does not work, but I am sure I can say that on another day. Finding financial incentives to encourage landlords to produce and maintain more energy-efficient and water-efficient houses is a very important issue. We have seen many instances where having a cold house, or having a house that is very expensive to run, outside the issue of how much rent you pay, is one of the things that drives people into poverty. Canberra is a very cold place for probably six months of the year, and some of our older housing stock is entirely inappropriate for the climate. And there are many people who live in this town not in comfortable centrally heated conditions, but in cold and miserable conditions for many months of the year.
Most of the people I know who are students, or who have studied in this town, have lived in the dreadfully cold student houses, where you have a little bar radiator here and you put on your earmuffs to go down the corridor to the loo because it is so cold. This is how people live in houses for many months of the year in the ACT. It is an interesting thing, given the talk about keeping in Canberra the university students who come here. One of the reasons they do not stay is that their experience of Canberra is so miserable because of the housing conditions in which they live. If we could do something to address that, we might keep living here some of the intellect that we train here. If we are talking about