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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 7 Hansard (22 August) . . Page.. 1845..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

It is an investment of over $300 million in public schools in the past two years. That is unprecedented. For a jurisdiction of this size, that is a massive investment in education. It will return dividends for this community for years and decades to come. It is a sign of this government's commitment to public education. The dividend will be reaped.

I think we are all touched by the irony that the Liberal Party is continuing its campaign about this grievous error in budget in the face of yesterday's announcements in relation to the unexpected $3.7 billion surplus that Peter Costello, the shadow Treasurer's hero—

Mrs Dunne: He didn't close anything.

Mrs Burke interjecting—

Mr Pratt: He didn't close anything.

MR SPEAKER: Order! Chief Minister, resume your seat. Mrs Dunne, Mrs Burke and Mr Pratt!

MR STANHOPE: The shadow Treasurer, we know, sits at the feet of the federal Treasurer and tugs the old forelock as he is wont to do. He has no comment to make on the $24 billion understatement of revenue which is a feature of the last three federal budgets. The federal Treasury has underestimated revenue of $24 billion in the last three years, including $3.7 billion last year. According to the Canberra Times—a journal which only ever speaks the truth, of course—in 2005-06 alone the federal Treasury underestimated income tax receipts by $6.9 billion. There was a $6.9 billion underestimation in income tax in 2005-06. There was $3.7 billion last year, a significant proportion of which was company tax underestimation. There has been $24 billion of unanticipated revenue in the past three years. But it is incompetent for the ACT Treasury to not estimate $30 million of conveyancing duty in the face of an enormous spike in the last year!

I might conclude on this point. The Leader of the Opposition quotes a Phil Lewis of the University of Canberra. I might just say that Phil Lewis's twin in this was a Mr Saul Eslake—

Mrs Burke: Do you know him?

Mr Mulcahy: You finally know who he is.

MR STANHOPE: I did not know him. I made some commentary about him as a result of which he rang my office to disown entirely—in its entirety—the quotes attributed to him in the Canberra Times by a Canberra Times journalist. He said that he was embarrassed, that he apologised, and that he could not believe that it was the same Saul Eslake.

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