The Hon. DON HARWIN: My question is directed to the Treasurer. Can the Treasurer tell the taxpayers of New South Wales how much it will cost them to bring back Parliament next week to pass his mini-budget?
The Hon. MICHAEL EGAN: I find it incredible that the Hon. Don Harwin—or the Opposition, for that matter—believes that I should deliver a budget statement by way of press release, rather than in the Parliament of New South Wales. Imagine if I just called a press conference next week to announce this! Next thing members opposite would be complaining that, instead of the budget being given in Parliament, it had been announced by way of a press release. What an incredible situation. I will tell the House why the Parliament is coming back next Tuesday.
The Hon. Michael Gallacher: Half the Parliament! Bring us all back!
The Hon. MICHAEL EGAN: Does the Leader of the Opposition want to come back as well? This House will have no business to do until the lower House deals with whatever measures I put before it. I will be announcing measures next week in the lower House which will be dealt with in the lower House, and then they will come to the upper House. Members opposite want me to double whatever it costs to bring back the lower House next week.
And today they even asked me a question about it! Let me tell honourable members why the lower House is coming back next week and why I will be making a statement to the lower House. Last Friday the Federal colleagues of members opposite robbed New South Wales—
The PRESIDENT: Order! I am finding it increasingly difficult to hear the Minister. Will members please keep the noise down.
The PRESIDENT: Order! I call the Hon. Don Harwin to order for the first time.
The Hon. MICHAEL EGAN: At least the Hon. Don Harwin is conceding that the money has gone to Queensland. That is something that the Opposition does not do. The Hon. Don Harwin has put his foot in his mouth again.
The PRESIDENT: Order! I call the Hon. Don Harwin to order for the second time.
The Hon. MICHAEL EGAN: That shows how much of our money is being siphoned off to the other States. Under the Howard Government, in the coming financial year it will amount to $2.9 billion. It is already $2.5 billion.
The PRESIDENT: Order! I call for Hon. Melinda Pavey to order for the first time.
The Hon. MICHAEL EGAN: The Commonwealth Government wants to increase it by another $400 million.
The Hon. Duncan Gay: Point of order: The question was clearly about the cost to New South Wales Parliament. If the Treasurer wants to concentrate on Federal matters, he can tell us what his Federal leader, Latham, would do in this situation.
The PRESIDENT: Order! I remind the Treasurer that his answer must be relevant to the question.
The Hon. MICHAEL EGAN: I am explaining to the House why I will be making a statement in the lower House next week. [Time expired.]