Page 2949 - Week 09 - Thursday, 13 August 2015

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It is not about chasing the government or catching the government out. Based on the numbers, for every dollar you spend on your auditor-general there would seem universally to be accepted a return of $9 or $10. It is about improving services, it is about getting better value for the spend, and it is something that should have been supported. I look forward in years to come to seeing it being restored.

MR BARR (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Urban Renewal and Minister for Tourism and Events) (9.25), in reply: I thank the Speaker and shadow treasurer for their contributions. In relation to some of the specific issues that have been raised, yes it is at times frustrating when your budget bids are not successful. Anyone who has been extensively involved in a budget cabinet process would realise that there are hundreds of worthy bids that are put forward each year and it is simply not possible to fund them all.

We were able to meet the vast majority of the funding requests that were put forward by the Speaker, and we had a good and robust discussion where the Speaker was invited into budget cabinet to present the proposals, answer questions, and then we had some follow-up discussions in relation to particular bids.

On the question of security, it is certainly the government’s intent to work with the Speaker in relation to the next phase of construction works in this place to look to improve security. I think there is also an onus on members to ensure that they take responsibility for guests who are in the building.

This evening my office had uninvited a prayer group who are anti same-sex marriage arrive in my office physically without any invitation, without any expectation of their arrival—a large number of people who were let into the building by a member of the Canberra Liberals. I understand this group was marched around various offices in this place, which I understand is in clear breach of protocols in relation to how guests who come into this place are meant to undertake their business.

If we are going to have a process now where members are going to invite groups who have a particular agenda, whether you agree with it or not, and march into other members’ offices in that way, I think it is a very poor precedent to set. I am concerned about this and I am happy to talk to the Speaker further, but I will not have my office invaded by people praying for me because I hold a different position to them on the question of same-sex marriage.

Mr Smyth: I think they prayed for all of us.

MR BARR: They may well have but it is inappropriate for a member to let a group in and do that sort of activity in this place. We all know that. And if it were turned around the other way and there were a group of activists who came and sat in other members’ offices, uninvited in that way, you would be equally unhappy and upset by that. Yes, Madam Speaker, I will have a conversation with you about how we can improve security in this place, Mr Assistant Speaker, through you.

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