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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 08 Hansard (Wednesday, 18 August 2010) . . Page.. 3555 ..


So we do have a dilemma here. Mr Barr is right. It is not often that Mr Barr and I agree, but in this case he is absolutely right: there are conflicting reports about what the Greens are saying and what they stand for. Mr Barr has, I believe, put forward an amendment. The offer has been made to allow the convenor of the Greens to speak again so that she can come down and clarify this matter. But this entire motion is about the cost of living—the cost of living pressures on Canberra families, particularly in the areas of housing, education, health care, childcare and utilities.

I am not sure where this comment came from—a blog—but there is a thing out there called a quick test of your financial knowledge. It goes:

Quickly now, in 3 seconds answer this question: does your family have private medical insurance? If you know the answer, give yourself 5 points. Now another quickie (no cheating, by looking at your will or asking your accountant) Do you own any properties? If you got that right, you get another five points and hit the jackpot.

You have now scored better than the Greens candidate for the Senate in the ACT, Lynn Hatfield Dodds, who, according to an article in today’s Canberra Times, could not say whether her family had private health insurance, even though she was holding forth on the topic.

It is that level of doubt that exists. The doubt is out there. It has now been exacerbated by the federal leader of the Greens, the man who desperately seeks to hold the balance of power in the Senate so that he can implement his policies, which is his right. We are politicians; we all come from political parties. We develop policies; we contest these elections so that we can put our policies in place. But people deserve to know what your policies mean.

There has been a lot thrown across the chamber in the last couple of days about some of the Liberal policies. The Greens deserve the same level of scrutiny, because this should not be a surreptitious process—and again in addressing the cost of living in the substantive motions. There is an editorial in the Financial Review from 5 August this year that says “Don’t flirt with Greens”. There is a particular paragraph that says:

The Greens stand for more power and less accountability for unions, guaranteed minimum incomes for all, a 50 per cent tax on $1 million incomes, and intercity high-speed rail with a price tag to rival the National Broadband Network and no cost-benefit study. They would heavily vet skilled immigration and oppose using population to boost the economy or counter the effects of demographic change—despite population being one of Treasury’s “three Ps” weapons for dealing with it. Corporations would be shackled by stakeholders and social and environmental campaigners, company tax would be increased to 33 per cent, private health insurance (and much of the health industry) would be wiped out and private school grants slashed if the Greens got their way.

The standard response to this undergraduate wish list is that it will never happen because a minority party can’t originate legislation and the Greens have moved on since two West Australian eco-warriors held the Keating government’s budget to ransom in 1993.


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