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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 6 Hansard (8 June) . . Page.. 2013..


MR SPEAKER: Order! Members of the opposition will cease interjecting. Chief Minister, direct your comments through the chair, please.

MR STANHOPE: Thank you, Mr Speaker. The breakfast has been mentioned in the debate. The left-hand side of the audience was from the property sector within the territory. The right-hand side of the audience was from the-

Mr Seselja: He's very upset about the caning he got.

MR STANHOPE: I think it is quite amusing. The audience was fairly well split, with 50 per cent supporting tourism and associated industries and the other 50 per cent supporting property. The property end of the breakfast was demanding-I must say I am sorry I was not quick enough on my feet-that we actually adopt the Victorian rate of land tax and stamp duty. Of course, the other side of the building was demanding, that we adopt not the Victorian standard of tourism expenditure-because it is as low as billyo, although not as low as New South Wales-but business concessions. It was, I think, an interesting conjunction of suggestions from within the one room with business and different constituencies scrabbling for the public teat that provides the greatest support to their particular-

Mr Barr: Business welfare.

MR STANHOPE: Yes, business welfare, that part of the business teat. I must say that in every meeting I have had with those esteemed leaders of business from the territory, they actually salivated at the prospect of workers' superannuation being cut. Then, when there are fairly insignificant cuts in the scheme of things to tourism and to business, there is absolute outrage. The very same individuals who wince at the possible price impact of anything that might be asked of them for the general public good visibly salivate at the prospect of hardship and pain in the community.

To be fair, self-interest is something that we are all very aware of, but let us actually put it in the context of all those different constituencies. We all understand self-interest. We know it when we see it. We understand it and we respect it, and we see it here tonight. Over the last two days the opposition has berated the government: you have spent too much; do not spend any more; there are too many public servants; the public service is bloated and efficient; you have sought no efficiencies.

Today we are debating the first budget legislation outcomes. The response is: do not dare cut tourism; do not care cut business expenditure; do not dare reduce the number of public servants supporting Healthpact; do not create efficiencies in relation to the tourism corporation; do not abolish ACTION; keep all those people there; keep the inefficiencies running; do not do anything; leave it all as it is. You are hypocrites and humbugs.

MR SPEAKER: Withdraw the word "hypocrites", Chief Minister.

MR STANHOPE: I beg your pardon, Mr Speaker-I beg everybody's pardon. I withdraw the word "hypocrites".


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