Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 10 Hansard (18 October) . . Page.. 3207..
MR MULCAHY (continuing):
I am not advocating the abolition of land tax. Let me make it very clear that the opposition has not advocated the removal of the water abstraction charge. Mr Barr may laugh but there are some serious legal questions about the water abstraction charge. In particular, there are serious legal questions related to constitutionality. Since being elected I have sought to get a full and frank tabling of all the legal advice, and it is being withheld. So that has got to make you think there are legal doubts about this tax. I can understand that cabinets have the right to retain these things but what troubles me is that down the track we may end up with a situation like the 1997 X-rated video case where suddenly the territory gets whacked financially because someone has not adequately addressed the issue.
Mr Pratt's statement has been cited. Mr Pratt expressed an opinion about the tax, and that is his prerogative. It is not opposition policy to abolish that tax. He expressed a view that he would like to see it go, and he is entitled to that view. I have views on policies that I would like to see changed but until they are formally adopted by my party they do not become the policy of the Liberal Party. This is just like the policy of the opposition on schools. I do not recall, Mr Speaker-and particularly in respect of you, Mr Speaker-unanimity of opinion about the government's position on schools. I understand that people quite stridently expressed their personal views. But, of course, the prevailing position is that set out in the policy of the Labor Party, and that is what you are saddled with whether you like it or not. What individuals might feel about a particular raft of initiatives does not in fact constitute final promises and constituted policy.
Be assured that the opposition, unlike this government, will have a well-defined economic program at the election in 2008. We will cost our promises. As Mr Stefaniak pointed out, we will cost our policies honestly and accurately and we will not misrepresent. Of course, as Mr Stefaniak said, we will not be getting ourselves into this awful mess that the territory government has found itself in. They got themselves into this mess, they had to dream up taxes to pay for it and then they are saying, "Well, nothing can be improved."It was not until the Standard and Poor's report came like a rocket towards this government that panic set in and they knew they would have to do something radical to restore their credibility or lose their rating.
The opposition is very comfortable about where it stands on promises. It is very comfortable about the economic management that we will bring to the territory. We will tackle the hard issues such as the rental crisis and housing affordability. I thank Dr Foskey of the Greens for their support on this proposal.
That Mr Mulcahy's motion be agreed to.
The Assembly voted-