Page 2353 - Week 06 - Thursday, 10 May 2012

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The government’s view is that there would appear to be little reason to make a substantial change to the process of appropriating funding to the Assembly. The current budget process for the Secretariat under section 20 provides an effective mechanism to ensure that all expenditure is well justified and in the public interest, ensures public moneys are allocated in a transparent and accountable manner whether it is expended by government agencies or the Assembly, fulfils the objectives of responsible financial management, and allows funding decisions to be made in the whole-of-government budget context.

MR SESELJA (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (12.38): The Canberra Liberals will not be supporting these amendments. We listened very carefully to what the government had to say on this and received some briefing in relation to some concerns they had on the administration, but we also consulted with the Clerk on this issue. It was certainly put to us that this is an important part of this bill. In fact, doing it in this way is part of what the bill is designed to do—that is, to make it very clear that the legislature is separate. I understand from my discussions that this occurs in other jurisdictions—not all jurisdictions—in this country. I think that is a positive, and it certainly sends the message that the legislature is independent from the executive.

That said, it does not in any way provide an unchecked ability for the legislature just to set its own budget. In the end, the executive will still be bringing forward the budget and it will still be voted on in the way appropriation bills usually are. We are satisfied that leaving it in is the right way to go and taking it out would potentially undermine the effectiveness of this legislation.

MS HUNTER (Ginninderra—Parliamentary Leader, ACT Greens) (12.40): The Greens will not be supporting the government’s amendments. As I said earlier, we agree there should be a separate appropriation for the Legislative Assembly and the proposed mechanism for arriving at the budget. I pick up on Mr Seselja’s comments that the Assembly will not get to determine its own budget. However, we have got the best model here. We believe it is in the spirit of the act and, therefore, we will not be supporting the government’s amendments.

Amendments negatived.

Schedule 1 agreed to.

Remainder of bill, by leave, taken as a whole and agreed to.

Bill, as amended, agreed to.

Sitting suspended from 12.41 to 2 pm.

Ministerial arrangements

MR BARR (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development and Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation): The Chief Minister will be absent from question time today, attending a funeral. I will take questions in the Chief Minister’s portfolios.

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