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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 09 Hansard (Thursday, 21 September 2006) . . Page.. 3040 ..

MR STANHOPE: Thank you, Mr Speaker. I recall using some of those words yesterday—“facile” and “fanciful”. I am sure, in relation to all of the words listed by Mr Smyth, they were directed at him. In the context of the rest of the question, I think it is incorporated within my answer to Mr Stefaniak. I stand by that answer.

MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. Chief Minister, why did you make such inaccurate criticisms of the content of the report from the Auditor-General yesterday? Have you actually read the report?

MR STANHOPE: I did not make inaccurate statements yesterday, Mr Speaker. The question really is based on an assertion that is not justified. It is difficult with these questions where there is a false assertion followed by a question. One has difficulty in answering because the whole premise of the question and the preamble are false. It is simply not possible to answer questions based on those false preambles.

Mr Smyth: It just proves exactly what you said. Have you read the report?

MR SPEAKER: Order! Mr Smyth, you are a serial interjector. You have to stop it.

ACTION bus service

MR PRATT: My question is to the Minister for the Territory and Municipal Services. You and your officials are stating publicly that bus drivers are now going to be paid on average $70,000 per annum, that they have no right to complain and that this is perhaps the best salary in the country for bus drivers. Yet the union insists that this figure is grossly misleading, that the true average wage is $52,000 per annum for a standard working week and that drivers with families could not hope to aspire to the $70,00 per annum salary which you are braying about. Why are you and your officials, in your struggle with the union, misleading the public and further enraging the drivers?

MR HARGREAVES: I do not remember using that figure. In fact, I can tell the Assembly absolutely categorically that I have not used that figure.

Mr Pratt: On ABC radio?

MR HARGREAVES: Mr Pratt enjoyed access to ABC radio this morning that nobody else did. I am looking forward to tomorrow when the ABC apologises for the lack of notice that the bus drivers were going to go on strike. We all look forward to listening to ABC radio first thing in the morning. Without seeing the reference that Mr Pratt refers to, I am going to treat his comment in the same way as the Chief Minister treated Mr Smyth. You instantly suspect that it is based on a false premise. I have been given no proof that I have said such a thing. I deny ever having said such a thing. In that case, I am not going to respond to Mr Pratt.

MR PRATT: My supplementary question to the minister is: given the statements made by your officials on ABC radio yesterday, why are you inflaming the situation and causing further disruption to the public?

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