Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 10 Hansard (26 August) . . Page.. 4420..
MR QUINLAN (continuing):
Ms Tucker for obtaining some feedback in relation to this legislation-feedback that seems to be in short supply. As a result of what Mr Smyth had to say I presume that he will continue to use dodgy numbers, which is his habit. I expect to hear him referring again to a $344 million deficit, which is a lie. I expect him to refer to $1.7 million-
Mr Smyth: Point of order, Mr Speaker. The minister should withdraw the word "lie".
MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: The minister will withdraw the word "lie".
MR QUINLAN: It is debatable. I have said on a number of occasions in this place-and I will say it again as I believe I am entitled to do so-that anyone who says the ACT Labor Party delivered a $344 million deficit is a liar.
Mr Smyth: Point of order, Mr Speaker. I again ask you to ask the minister to withdraw the word "lie".
MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: I ask the minister to withdraw the word "lie".
MR QUINLAN: It is not an inference on Mr Smyth.
MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: You referred on the first occasion to the fact that Mr Smyth was a liar. The minister will withdraw that inference.
MR QUINLAN: I withdraw that inference and state that I expect Mr Smyth to again make that incorrect claim. I repeat: Anyone who makes that claim is a liar. I expect Mr Smyth to refer also to the $1.7 billion in lost tourism from a convention centre. What arrant nonsense! I now refer to the subject at hand-the creation of the position of a Small Business Commissioner-the initiative enumerated in the economic white paper. After the initial delivery of the economic white paper, business representatives referred to that initiative as a good thing.
Since the formulation of this legislation and since the government announced that it would implement that initiative it has received support from the following bodies: the Fair Trading Coalition, CPA Australia, ACT Business Ltd, the Canberra Business Council, Christopher Peters of the ACT and Region Chamber of Commerce, the ACT Micro and Home Business Association and the National Association of Retail Grocers of Australia.
The only person who is out of touch in relation to this issue is Mr Smyth. All those people endorsed the government's proposition. I asked myself why the Liberals, who say that they represent small business, would be against this proposition. I can only speculate on the answer to that question. I think Mr Smyth wants some gaps to remain so that he can make a policy announcement in the future. I heard Mr Smyth state at the small business forum that business support must be rationalised. I do not know whether that is a positive or negative statement, but I did not think Mr Smyth would be against this proposition, particularly after he spoke to the Victorian Small Business Commissioner. Because we have a forthcoming election Mr Smyth is trying to play the cunning little games that he played over the past three years.