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MS FOLLETT (Leader of the Opposition) (3.57): Mr Speaker, I have circulated two amendments to Mr Berry's motion and I would ask, first of all, whether I could have leave to move those amendments together.
MS FOLLETT: I move:
Omit the word “occur” and substitute the words “be finalised”.
Insert the word “further” between “no” and “negotiations”.
The effect of the amendments that I have moved would be to alter Mr Berry's motion so that it reads in the first line “That no further negotiations be finalised” rather than “That no negotiations occur”. This might be a compromise position that perhaps many people will be happier with, although I accept probably not the Government.
There are a number of matters that ought to be addressed in relation to the deal that Mrs Carnell has done on Acton Peninsula. The first of those is the view that Mr Humphries has now put forward - very revealingly, in my view - that this was not a particularly advantageous deal to the Territory. He has accused the Commonwealth of playing hardball, and indeed I would agree with that. I must say that I am somewhat disappointed in my Federal colleagues that they have sought to take advantage of a very new Chief Minister and do this kind of a deal, which in my opinion, as I have said many times, is not to the Territory's advantage. It seems to me that Mrs Carnell was stood over and that it was made very clear to her, as she admits herself in her statement yesterday on the Premiers Conference, that the provision of special revenue assistance to the Territory was conditional upon her doing the deal on Acton. Although I had asked Mrs Carnell a question precisely along those lines in question time yesterday, to which she did not reply, her later statement in the house revealed that to be the case.
Mr Speaker, there are two problems with that. The first is that in every year since self-government the Territory has received special revenue assistance without conditions. Both Mr Kaine and I, as Chief Minister and Treasurer, were successful in achieving special revenue assistance, and this Territory has every right to expect special revenue assistance for the remaining two years, I think it is, of our transitional period. So, it is a very significant matter that the Commonwealth on this occasion, and this occasion only, has sought to impose very onerous and quite unacceptable conditions on the Chief Minister seeking what, in my view, it was her right to seek.
Mr Speaker, the fact of the matter is that last year the Territory received $30m in special revenue assistance without any conditions. This year, if you look at the forward estimates, you will see that we had anticipated getting $20m in special revenue assistance. I repeat that it is my view that Mrs Carnell had every right to seek and to secure that $20m without conditions. I do not condone what has happened here, but I certainly agree with Mr Humphries that the deal was not advantageous to the Territory; that the Commonwealth did play hardball. I think it is only to be regretted that Mrs Carnell did not play hardball right back to them and say to them, “There is no deadline on this. Go away”.