Page 1381 - Week 05 - Tuesday, 5 April 2005

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sentiments, fine hopes, in which a simple-minded person would have been foolish to trust.

Why? Just consider what our man of the people is now proposing with his revamp of the estimates committee. He is proposing a flouting of the standing orders, a disregard for convention and precedent, and a destruction of open government in the ACT. In plain language, the Stanhope administration intends to stack the estimates committee so that, in effect, the government reviews its own budget process. This is not putting Dracula in charge of the blood bank; it is just a handful of very small, very greedy mosquitoes.

I ask: what is the Chief Minister afraid of? Is it that a more balanced committee might raise questions that the Chief Minister and his colleagues would find inconvenient to answer? Is it that the deliberations which have to accommodate more than a single argument might be difficult for one or two of his ministers to understand? Or is it that members of the government are just so used to branch stacking that, now that they have majority government, they are not going to let standing orders or any other bourgeois parliamentary principle get in the way of turning this Assembly into another ALP sheltered workshop?

The psychologist Alfred Adler specialised in the study of inferiority. Initially, of course, his concern was organ inferiority and its various compensations. But Adler’s most famous example is the Napoleon complex, which refers to the inferiority specific to men normally of short stature but not only of short stature—not only people who are vertically challenged but those who are morally challenged and those who have small minds.

Liberal democracy relies on open minds and open debate. More particularly, it relies on legislative scrutiny of the executive, particularly in the case of the budget process. Once any government—through arrogance, fear or, in this case, intellectual cowardice—seeks to remove that right of legislative scrutiny, we are well on the way to what might be termed, without exaggeration, elective dictatorship. Elective dictatorship is something that Labor governments are used to. Hawke did it, and Keating, Wran and Beattie. It goes with the ideology; it goes with the Labor tribe.

The Chief Minister will doubtless get his own way this time. The Chief Minister has the numbers, and for a bully that is what counts. Furthermore, he can be confident a future Liberal government will not follow this example—and I assure you we will go out of our way to make certain that this is the beginning of the Chief Minister’s electoral end.

Napoleon, who started out being a so-called man of the people, could not resist crowning himself emperor. We have already had command performances, so I think that the emperorship is on the way. I imagine that the Chief Minister’s exile will be spent somewhere more romantic than Elba—perhaps the Gold Coast—but I suspect he will not find it any less depressing. The people of the ACT will see to that.

Evatt primary school

MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Children, Youth and Family Support, Minister for Women and Minister for Industrial Relations) (5.58): I am pleased to have the opportunity in the adjournment debate to read

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