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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 20 June 1995) . . Page.. 869 ..

As for the open style of government, I find that an absolutely laughable concept. Mr Speaker, I have constantly sought information from Mrs Carnell's departments. I have not got any of it. I have, indeed, been seriously delayed in my work because I cannot get hold of my own documents from when I was in government. Open and consultative, my foot! That is an absolute sham. I am quite surprised that Mrs Carnell is still laying claim even to the rhetoric. Mrs Carnell, again, in this somewhat scurrilous document, refers to the parlous budget situation in the Territory. That is just an outright untruth, and Mrs Carnell well knows it. Mr Speaker, the fact of the matter is that, throughout the time that I was the Treasurer, the Territory had balanced recurrent budgets.

Mr Humphries: You had huge debts.

Mr Hird: The Auditor-General had something to say about that.

MS FOLLETT: Mr Speaker, the debt of the Territory was maintained at a very low level. I warn Mr Hird, in particular, that I am not going to shout over him. The net borrowings of the Territory were no higher when I left office as Treasurer than they were upon self-government. I think that, given the huge cuts in Commonwealth revenue to the Territory, that is no mean feat. Mrs Carnell, purely for political rhetorical purposes, refers to this as a parlous situation. She has, of course, conveniently forgotten that the Territory does have an AAA credit rating, with a positive outlook, achieved whilst I was Treasurer. Very few States in Australia actually have that credit rating. Mrs Carnell obviously believes that I somehow fooled the Standard and Poor’s rating agency into giving the Territory that rating. I assure members that I did not. The AAA credit rating was achieved because the Territory had been well managed. Only Mrs Carnell would attempt to mislead the community into believing otherwise.

Even were you to accept her point there, Mr Speaker, she says in her statement:

We are only now dealing with the reality of our financial situation.

How? Where is there any information whatsoever in this document about how Mrs Carnell is even attempting to match her rhetoric with action? There is not a single word in here that would give any credence whatsoever to Mrs Carnell's claim to now be dealing with the reality of our financial situation. Furthermore, Mr Speaker, she has completely ignored all of the efforts that have been made over the six years of self-government, not five - that is how good she is at figures - towards ensuring that our financial future was sound. I am referring to matters like the constant reductions in our own outlays that were made in every year except the year of the Alliance Government. The Territory actually reduced the amount it spent on its own administration every year except when Mr Kaine was Chief Minister and Treasurer. Mrs Carnell has skated over that fact, but she has only to look through the budget papers to recognise that it is absolutely true.

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