Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 2 Hansard (10 February) . . Page.. 538..
MR SESELJA (continuing):
That is part of the reason why we are seeing such confusion in how things are done and why we are seeing the fact that this package has not been thought through. There are good things in it—of course there are—we welcome those, and we welcome some of the spending. I expect that the Chief Minister, if he gets a chance to speak, will tell us why he believes that $42 billion of taxpayers' money should have been spent without federal members even looking at it and with a gun to their heads.
Mr Barr is embarrassed by his own Prime Minister now. The embarrassment is apparent. He realises that the Prime Minister, the leader of the Labor Party nationally, has made an argument with no foundation, and he has demonstrated his economic credentials. That is why people are concerned now that, after the Liberal Party paid off this $96 billion of debt—saved for the future—Kevin Rudd, at the first opportunity, wants to spend even more than the $96 billion of debt. It is outrageous. Madam Deputy Speaker, I thank Ms Burch for bringing this forward. We thank her for the opportunity to debate this very important issue.
MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Minister for Transport, Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Minister for Business and Economic Development, Minister for Indigenous Affairs and Minister for the Arts and Heritage) (5.28): I, too, am very pleased that Ms Burch proposed this matter of public importance. There is no more important issue or matter facing Australia today than the financial crisis which we find confronting us.
It is a very serious crisis and we are thankful that we have in place a government that is prepared to take the issue head-on and that is prepared to think of its vision in relation to the steps which it needs to take to keep Australia in growth. The significance and the seriousness of the crisis is, for me, summarised by the fact that all six of our leading trading partners—all six, the first si—xthe top six trading partners of Australia are formally in recession. Australia is not.
It is a matter, I think, of real significance that, of the OECD economies, Australia is the only one not currently in recession or facing imminent recession. We are the strongest of all the OECD trading nations in terms of continuing growth in our economy. As one scans the world economies, Australia is still in growth—minimal growth. We are in growth, of course, thanks to the decisions that the commonwealth government took in the lead-up to Christmas.
There is no doubt about the significance of the retail spike. Ask Chris Peters and other industry representatives about the importance of the decisions that the commonwealth government has taken to date and the fact that Australia, of all of major western economies, is the only one still formally in growth—that has not slipped into recession.
The significant point is the ignorance being displayed by the Leader of the Opposition and other members of the Liberal Party here about what this means for Australia and what it means, most particularly for jobs and for families, if we slip into recession. The steps that the commonwealth took in the lead-up to Christmas and the steps that the commonwealth are taking in the package announced last week are fundamentally important to maintaining stability and growth within the economy and fundamental to