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Tuesday, 3 May 2016
Page: 4195

Ms BRODTMANN (Canberra) (13:51): Canberrans have learnt that budget nights under coalition governments are to be dreaded. Tonight we fear we will once again be in the crosshairs. This government has shown unparalleled hostility towards Australia's national institutions, most of which are in my electorate. It has made clear its views on national institutions—they are not national treasures, but ATMs.

The National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery, the National Museum, the Museum of Australian Democracy, the Film and Sound Archive, the National Library—all have been forced to absorb massive and misguided cuts, starting with $3 million this financial year. This is on top of $20 million worth of cuts by this regressive and reactionary government.

The idea that you can stack cut upon cut, year after year, without compromising the functioning of our national institutions is an irresponsible fiction. It is an irresponsible fiction. We should not pretend this is about cutting fat, and this is not about cutting bone. These cuts run so deep that they are hitting vital organs.

I hope this budget tonight spares Canberra from further cuts, particularly to Public Service jobs. I hope our national institutions are asked to enhance their contribution to our national story, to our national history, to what is wonderful about being Australian, and not asked to compromise it.