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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 12 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 November 2007) . . Page.. 3628 ..

… Any mortgagee today will most likely be better off than a person in a similar position would have been under Labor in 1989, not worse off.

Together with your Labor colleagues you have been vocal in what now is clearly misplaced criticism of the impact of the Howard government’s policies on working families and households. For example, you said in a media release on 15 November this year:

Canberra homebuyers know that the biggest disincentive of all to buying a home today is the extra $249 a month they are going to have to find just to service their loan, courtesy of Mr Humphries and his colleagues.

Treasurer, have you taken advice from your department about the financial position of working families in the ACT and how does this advice reconcile with Mr Martin’s statement?

MR STANHOPE: I thank Mr Smyth for the question. I am pleased that three days out from a federal election, in which one of the most significant issues that Canberrans and all Australian should focus on is, of course, the Howard-Humphries promise of no interest rate rises under the Liberal Party, under a Liberal government—

Opposition members interjecting

MR STANHOPE: I am more than pleased that Mr Smyth has provided this dorothy, which allows me at this juncture to talk about credibility, without the risk of a point of order suggesting that I am not addressing the question.

Mr Smyth: Point of order, Mr Speaker: under standing order 118 (b) the minister cannot debate the subject. I didn’t give him a dixer; I asked him: did he have advice from his department?

MR SPEAKER: I think he was applauding you for asking the question, Mr Smyth.

MR STANHOPE: I thanked Mr Smyth for allowing me to address this most significant issue, an issue that is uppermost in the minds—or was uppermost in the minds a year or two ago at the point when the majority of Australians took the decision that they could not trust John Howard or Gary Humphries. The lack of trust reflects on the basis of the claim that there would be no interest rate rises under Gary Humphries or John Howard or Peter Costello.

In the face of that, and this goes directly to the question asked by Mr Smyth, the Reserve Bank just a couple of weeks ago—in fact on Family and Community Day in 2007—increased the cash interest rate by 0.25 percentage points to 6.75 per cent. That was on Family and Community Day, and we were all struck by the irony of that—that it was on Family and Community Day that the Reserve Bank again levied this significant impost on families and communities throughout Australia. The standard variable home loan rate of interest as a result of that is now 8.55 per cent. This is the sixth interest rate rise since the last federal election, when the infamous promise by

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