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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 12 Hansard (Wednesday, 26 October 2011) . . Page.. 5067 ..


The minister jumps up and says, “But, of course, we have got that facility now.” But what he did not tell this place and what the Greens could not tell this place was how many bills have not been paid and have attracted interest and how much interest has been paid. You would have thought a Treasurer on his game would have had that data to hand so that he could dazzle the Assembly. They have had notice of this since yesterday.

Surely some reports are available to the government, and you could print them out on the computers, which could tell you the position for a period—for the last month, for the last quarter, for the last year, for however long you want to search. That is not a figure that would be hard to come by. But the minister does not do that. I suspect they have probably paid very little interest at all, and that is why this policy is good policy and that is why my motion should go through unamended.

Admin and procedures might need to look at this notion of “deleting all words after”. If you do not like the motion, vote against the motion. Have the integrity to vote against it and say, “You’re wrong.” A lot of Ms Le Couteur’s amendment is simply plagiarism. Paragraphs (1)(a) and (1)(b) in the amendment are the same as 1(a) and 1(b) in the motion. It goes on. It is simply plagiarism. If you like it, leave it there. So do not pretend you have rewritten the whole motion. I think it is sad that we get to that stage. In the main, Ms Le Couteur agreed with our motion.

Mr Barr: I think it’s sad that you think that’s an issue, actually.

MR SMYTH: If you do not think that plagiarism is an issue, that is fine. That reflects more on you than it does on us, Mr Barr. The problem is that it is basically our motion. But the Greens just could not bring themselves to vote for a Liberal motion. That is the problem here.

We heard from Ms Hunter. She obviously did not listen to my speech. I said there is a requirement for some leeway in some cases, and that is why it is going out to 45 days. But Ms Hunter could not point out where we have said that we will delay all payments until 45 days. Indeed, Mr Barr and Ms Le Couteur could not point out anywhere in the policy or in the motion where we have said “delay the payments by the 50 per cent” and they start to quote. And they are mute now because they know it is not true. It is a good bit of spin; it is a good bit of fluff. When you have got no substance, you just make up an allegation and you keep saying it in the hope that somebody will believe you. But it is simply not true.

Much of what Ms Hunter said about there being cases where you do pay late makes our case. If Ms Hunter had bothered to listen to the speech, she would have understood. If you are in a business that is in the 15 per cent and you are struggling, I can assure you that being in the 15 per cent is not okay. Indeed, you would have thought Ms Hunter, who claims in, whatever it is, section 7.3 of the Greens-Labor agreement, that they are already doing it would have ensured they are doing it or at least armed herself with the knowledge of how many payments of interest had been made under this new arrangement. Ms Hunter could not bring that information down and enlighten all of us because she does not know. As I have said, I suspect there have not been any.


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