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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 30 June 2010) . . Page.. 2966 ..

leader, there is a complete ignorance of what is in the motion and what was said. Mr Barr is now back. He scurried out as soon as he had finished. I think somewhere, deep down, he knew that what he was saying was a load of rubbish and it has been exposed as such.

He has effectively accused his own Treasurer of grubby politics. He has effectively accused her of grubby politics because he says that using that terminology is grubby politics. Well, it is the Treasurer’s own terminology. He did not bother to check. He did not bother to do the work. It does go, I think, to how disinterested he is as a planning minister in anything other than sloganeering.

Mr Speaker, we will not be supporting the amendment from Ms Hunter. As much as it may be applauded by the government—as much of what Ms Hunter does is applauded—how comfortable the government are with scrutiny is always indicative of how closely you are scrutinising them. If the government are applauding you for your scrutiny, chances are you are not actually asking the right questions. Chances are you are asking them exactly the kind of questions they want to have asked.

I think that Mr Hargreaves summed it up in the committee when he said that this is a wonderful report for the government. He said that it is a wonderful report for the government. The government could not be happier. This is an important issue. We do take it seriously. Industry take it seriously and they deserve answers to address this uncertainty. (Time expired.)

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (7.51): It is ironic, actually, that when you come into the chamber with a motion, the second part of which just simply calls for information, you can get yourself into so much grief and have so much slanging, especially from the crossbench—the people who say that they are here to ensure openness and accountability.

Mr Speaker, substantial changes to a tax like the change of use charge will have substantial impacts in the community. There are no two ways about it. We heard the Treasurer before the dinner break actually make an argument which was pretty much like the argument that Wayne Swan made about the resource rent tax, when she said, “This will not stifle economic activity; it will encourage economic activity.” So, if you tax somebody, what they will do is say, “Oh, thank you Ms Gallagher, Treasurer, thank you for taxing me. You just encouraged me to go out and do more so that you can tax me ever more. Tax me and tax me again.” No-one realistically thinks that, if you wind up the taxes on something, people will continue in that area.

The classic example, of course, was in the late 70s, when the Thatcher government came to power in the UK, and the Thatcher government did something that caused the Labour Party and everyone on the left to go into paroxysms. They lowered the top marginal rate of tax. They lowered the top marginal rate of tax from 90 per cent to 70 per cent, and this was considered to be an absolutely appalling thing. What happened, Mr Speaker? All these people who had buckets of money, and had had their money offshore, brought their money home, because they no longer considered it worth trying to avoid outrageous taxes in the UK. As a result of lowering the tax rate, the UK government collected more tax. It was a direct measure.

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