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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 9 Hansard (19 September) . . Page.. 2902..


DR FOSKEY (continuing):

ignores the cost of the land that new houses are built on; and it ignores the cost of established houses. Also, because it uses capital cities, it ignores the fact that people away from capital cities might actually pay quite a lot more, as indeed they do, for goods and services.

What is really interesting is that some items in the CPI basket, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, petrol and public transport, have been rising much faster than average while other products, such as electrical appliances, new cars and junk food, have been rising more slowly. Between 1996 and 2006 the price of audiovisual and computer equipment fell by 68 per cent, while fruit prices increased by 112 per cent and vegetable prices increased by 70 per cent. We are finding therefore that, because it is an average, it does not actually measure the cost of living. We really need a proper cost of living index that includes the cost of mortgage repayments and land and focuses more on the cost of the essentials that low income earners rely so heavily upon.

That is something that I do believe the federal government could fund the ABS to do. We have had a number of proposals put to us as how best to work out the wellbeing of a community. In recent days there has been talk about a happiness index. The fact is that, unless people have a certain degree of amenity and the ability to afford the essentials of life, happiness is not really within their reach at all. That is something that I think that governments should put their minds to.

Death of the King of Tonga

MR HARGREAVES (Brindabella—Minister for the Territory and Municipal Services, Minister for Housing and Minister for Multicultural Affairs) (5.07): On 10 September 2006 the ACT government was saddened to learn of the passing of the King of Tonga, His Majesty Taufu'ahau Tupou IV. Our thoughts are with the members of Canberra's Tongan community, as well as the Kingdom of Tonga, at this time.

A memorial service in which the king will be laid to rest is expected to be attended by thousands of mourners in Tonga today. Among them will be Australia's Governor-General, Michael Jefferey, and the Prime Minister of New Zealand, the Hon Helen Clark. Many other political and cultural leaders also wishing to pay their respects will join them.

Such a strong attendance shows the admiration and respect that King Tupou IV commanded during his life. The king achieved that admiration and respect through the compassionate and decisive way in which he led his beloved country. He left an indelible mark on Tonga after more than 40 years as its reigning monarch. His contribution to issues such as economic reform, living standards, national pride and education will not be forgotten.

Such was the king's devotion to the people of Tonga that not only did he strive for all members of the community to feel safe and economically better placed but also he gave them an education. What a powerful gift! It is well known that the king's commitment to education resulted in all Tongans who were capable of receiving and willing to receive an education being given the tools and support to extend them as far as their abilities could take them.


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