Page 2327 - Week 08 - Tuesday, 28 June 2005

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$1 or $129,000—because it is capital as opposed to the actual budget expenditure, recurrent expenditure.

MR SPEAKER: We will get all these points of order out in the open and then I will take a breather to work on it.

Mrs Dunne: Mr Speaker, on a point of order: Mr Mulcahy’s amendment does not change the overall appropriation for the Legislative Assembly by $1.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Mulcahy has made that point.

Mrs Dunne: And that is a substantive point. Irrespective of whether it comes from capital or recurrent, what we are talking about is the overall expenditure. The overall allocation for the Legislative Assembly is unchanged. That it is consistent with the standing orders.

Mr Corbell: Mr Speaker, I wish to speak to the point of order. I am sorry to labour the point, but I have to support my colleague Mr Quinlan. The effect of Mr Mulcahy’s amendment, if this amendment is carried, is that it will have a direct effect on the government’s ongoing budget because it increases the amount of recurrent expenditure and reduces the amount of capital expenditure. Capital expenditure, of course, is a one-off item, a one-off cash injection, whereas the net cost of outputs is ongoing expenditure that must then be factored into the budget for future years.

That is the effect of Mr Mulcahy’s amendment if it is agreed to by this place. It is contrary to the decisions made in this place on a number of occasions since self-government that only the executive can increase the overall amount of expenditure paid for the functions of the ACT government.

The motion is quite clearly contrary to the decisions of this and previous Assemblies and the principle of the financial initiative of the crown in this place as embodied by decisions of the executive.

Mr Smyth: If I made add to the debate, Mr Speaker?

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mr Smyth.

Mr Smyth: This is a point we did check with Parliamentary Counsel, and Parliamentary Counsel were quiet explicit in that this Appropriation Bill only applies to the coming financial year. What Mr Mulcahy seeks to do does not alter the bottom line of Appropriation Bill 2005-2006. We checked; we asked that question.

We have advice from Parliamentary Counsel that assures us that these amendments are consistent with both standing order 200 and the self-government act. They have been drafted that way. If they modified the bottom line then, of course, there would be a fifth amendment that would modify that bottom line. We checked on this issue. What both ministers said is not correct.

MR SPEAKER: Thank you, Mr Smyth. I note the points that you have made but I am, however, drawn to the wide-ranging effect of Mr Humphries’s motion of 23 November

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